Call for Papers: 



May 3rd, 4th, 5th , 2017

University of Bologna, Rimini Campus, Department for Life Quality Studies
International Research Group – Culture, Fashion, and Communication


Throughout the 20th Century fashion pursued systemization into precise forms and measures. Even haute couture, with its bespoke and unique pieces, was forced at a certain point to adopt standards which, as Gilles Lipovetski explained, represent an innovation in comparison with the sartorial anarchy of the previous decades. As a symbol of bourgeois industrial society, haute couture is a prime example of the production and dissemination of fashion according to precise parameters. Parallel to this, the invention of sizes in America in 1949 gave rise to ready-to-wear garments. This production system was improved upon after World War II in Italy by Marzotto, Miroglio, Lubiam and by the Gruppo Finanziario Tessile, with its long tradition of standard andbeautiful outfits. Forged by ubiquitous mass media forces and the global market dynamics, contemporary fashion system needs to develop new paradigms capable of rendering the most of its multidisciplinary nature.

Between the late 19th and early 20th Century, the increasingly scientific organization of production processes gave rise to radical transformations that ultimately defined a new way of understanding time and space, science and art. The rise of mechanical reproduction technologies (such as photography and cinema) made it possible for the first time in history to reproduce the physical world and to measure it with more precision. On the one hand, these new opportunities provided political and social institutions an unrivaled tool for maintaining order while triggering on the other hand a radical transformation in performing habits and visual systems.

Within the same period, modern designers began to redefine forms and spaces, starting from the human body and its measures. Ernst Neufert and his encyclopaedic Bauentwurfslehre (1936) represent an exemplary case within this process, aimed at the standardization of everyday objects, buildings and, in some cases, even cities. Only a couple of decades afterwards, at the First International Congress of Industrial Design, held at the Triennale in Milan in 1954, Giulio Carlo Argan identified precisely within this quest for standardization the origins of industrial design. The discipline, which gained ground in Italy after World War II, began to take its path to the present day in the newly formed consumer society, designing objects capable of meeting the increasingly exacting demands of consumers from both the aesthetic and the experiential point of view. The consecration of the Made in Italy label at the MoMA exhibition in 1972, permanently relegated any discussion of standardization to the backseat, placing emphasis on the recent radical experiments of Italian designers. Of particular interest were the environments which, designed under the banner of manoeuvrability and flexibility, staged inhabitable systems capable of adapting to any situation in space and time. Alongside and simultaneous to this, architects turned their attention to the city by expanding the discussion from the architectural scale to the urban one. Emblematic of this point of view is Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the City, in which the author addressed issues related to the classification of urban artifacts; analyzed the structure of the city and discussed urban dynamics, underscoring the city’s leading role within contemporary cultural debates.

More recently, the reduction of the city to a sum of parts interconnect with each other according to innovative communication strategies was one of the key themes of the mammoth work S, M, L, XL by Rem Koolhaas. For the first time in its history, the discourse on architecture became interdisciplinary, thus anticipating in some ways the issues that were looming on the horizon of the 21st Century.

The importance of seeing was never more obvious than in the 20th Century. In the context of cinema, in fact, the construction of a cinematic space has changed collective psychology and social consciousness by means of representation on the big screen. The emphasis on the size of the big screen, a recurring topic in the theoretical production of the first half of the past century, was justified by the fact that much of the impression made collectively by the cinema depended on the size of the image – and the close-up of the human face may be considered its main symbol. Modern and contemporary culture have redefined the image sizes and formats, movie lengths, and even the symbolic models. Nevertheless, and with more and more new features, the cinema interacts effectively with fashions, creating styles and social practices and dealing with sizing and clothing, linking the charismatic apparatus to the era of transmedia.

Within mass media the idea of “size” can refer to different level of analysis, especially if we consider the methods of production and modes of consumption.

The size of media products depend on the adopted language and the medium used. With paper, for example, the size corresponds to the number of pages occupied by the product (space). With audio-video products or music, the size is measured according to duration (time). With websites it becomes quite difficult to define a size: in addition to the internal hypertexts in fact, there are multiple connections to external links, and thus to the expanded worldwide network.

Since the 1980s, with the rise of postmodernism, authors such as Lyotard and Vattimo have shown how the boundaries between different media products are increasingly blurred and merged into a single, endless stream. That stream not only characterizes the presentation of media products on television or radio channels, but it also concerns the fruition, which nowadays is being increasingly organized by the audience autonomously. Current production in fact no longer focuses solely on the single medium, but rather defines transmedia content through a multimedia-building strategy. Consequently, fruition is increasingly being managed by the audience that is now capable of independently determining which format fits its needs.

Size thus appears as an elusive concept, determined both by supply and demand. Moreover, it is being constantly renegotiated according to the textual forms available and the desires of the audience using it. These reasons make it important for researchers to focus on the local (while taking into account also the global) dynamics. In fact, traces of tensions between national cultures and international productions might be found in the sizes of the most popular products and in the devices used to perform them.

All topics related to “sizing” in fashion, media, architecture, design, photography, creative industries and interactions are welcome:

-           How technological innovations in production, distribution, consumption are revolutionizing the sizes in                   fashion system, time, space and the media

-           How is the human body changing in relation to the possibilities offered by wearable technologies

-           How are the acceleration of time and the globalization of space affecting the built environment

-           Which is the role of design and architecture in a world in which time is extra-small and space extra-large

-           How are cities resizing in order to accomodate the multi-cultural and multi-identity society of tomorrow

-           Which is the contribution of cinema in the definition of sizes and how is its current symbolic power setting new standards for media, design and fashion

-           How do media formats (cinema, television, cross-media products) change once they are exported in                     different social and identity contexts

-           Which is the role of celebrity culture in defining new models within media, fashion and design

-           How has the practice of binge-watching affected product sizes

-           Which is the relationship between binge-watching, product placement and size of the product placement               in tv series


The conference organizers welcome individual papers and panel proposals to

Language: English
Deadline for submission: 15th December 2016.
Authors will be notified by 31st January 2017.
Proposals should not exceed 400 words in length.
Please make sure to attach a short CV (no more than 150 words).
If accepted, speakers will have to send a brief paper (1000 words) by 15th April 2017.
After the conference, speakers are expected to send a full paper of their speech for publication of the official proceedings, by 31st August 2017.

Keynote speakers for 2017 will be announced soon.



Conference participants are required to pay a fee of EUR 100or EUR 80 if they register before 15th March. 
The conference fee is EUR 50 for students enrolled in degree or doctoral programmes at the University of Bologna (and free for students enrolled in the three-year CLAM degree or enrolled in the two-year Fashion, Culture and Management second cycle programme).



Dipartimento di Scienze per la Qualità della Vita, Palazzo Ruffi – Briolini, d’Augusto, 237, 47921 – RIMINI and other venues to be communicated.



CFP – ZONEMODA CONFERENCE S, M, L, XL – SIZING, 3rd-5th May 2017, University of Bologna, Italy

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