Fashion Research Network Reading Group: Call for Participation (ongoing)

As part of our ongoing dialogue amongst PhD-level and early career fashion and dress researchers, the Fashion Research Network Reading Group is an informal space in which our community is invited to come together to investigate, question and reflect upon various aspects of fashion and dress-related research. Past sessions include discussions of Fashion as it relates to Humour, Race, Space, Masculinities, Curation, the Senses, and Failure.

FRN invites interdisciplinary fashion researchers to propose themes for reading groups, to be held in the autumn, spring or summer terms, that draw on their field of expertise. Each reading group begins with a twenty-minute presentation on the theme by the leader, to be followed by forty minutes of group discussion that he/she will moderate. This allows for Reading Group leaders to gain feedback on work-in-progress and practice speaking about those ideas in an informal, interdisciplinary and analytical setting.

To be considered, FRN welcomes proposals of 500 words or less, which should include the applicant’s short biography, institutional affiliation, as well as potential dates and a confirmed location (or state whether he/she requires help finding a space).

All leaders must submit a reading list to be distributed to participants in advance of the day, as well as a write-up of the reading group two weeks after the event, both of which will be archived on the FRN website (in addition to the leader’s biography).

To find our current and past calendar of reading groups please visit:

For any questions, and to submit proposals of 500 words or less, please contact:


Previous reading groups:


Inside Jokes: Fashion Humour for “Experts”

21st July 2016, Centre for Fashion Curation, London College of Fashion, led by Fashion Curator and PhD Candidate Jenna Rossi-Camus

Making and the Sensory

21st January 2016, Royal College of Art, coinciding with the School of Material Work-In-Progress Exhibition with an opportunity to view the exhibition.

Audrey Hepburn: Image and Substance

8 October 2015, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

With special guest Terrence Pepper, curator of Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, National Portrait Gallery. Reading group to follow a tour of the exhibition. Readings and other details TBC.

Fashion and Race

14 October 2015, 6-8pm, Institute of International Visual Arts (INIVA), London. Led by Tanveer Ahmed and Erica de Greef.

Fashion and Curation

21 May 2015, London College of Fashion

Led by Jenna Rossi-Camus, Alison Moloney and Ben Whyman of the Centre for Fashion Curation

Fashion and Ethics

24 April 2015, Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art

Held as part of the RCA Research Biennial 2015 “Why Would I Lie?”, with special guest Ariele Elia, curator of Faking It: Originals, Copies and Counterfeits, Museum at FIT, New York


Chapter 3 ‘Self-Portraits taken from Schwartz, Hillel (2014) [1996] The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles, New York, NY: Zone Books.

Wilcox, Claire (2015) ‘Plato’s Atlantis: Anatomy of a Collection,‘ in Wilcox, Claire, Editor, Alexander McQueen, London: V&A Publishing.

Beard, Nathaniel Dafydd (2008) ‘Magpies and Hypocrites, Snobs and Villains: A View from the Catwalk,’ St. Pierre & Miquelon, Editors, Sexymachinery, Issue A: Super Replica. 


Fashion and Originality

22 January 2015, Royal College of Art


Twyla Tharp (2006) ‘Scratching’ in Tharp, The Creative Habit Learn it and Use if for Life, New York: Simon and Schuster.

Vanessa Friedman (6th August 2014) ‘In Fashion Ads, Plenty of Déjà Vu: Cara Delevingne, Gisele Bündchen and Edie Campbell Are Familiar Faces in Fall Fashion Ads’, New York Times.

Erich Kessel (8th April 2014) ‘Killing Originality: Between Foucault and Balenciaga,’ The Style Con

Danielle J. Koon (2012) ‘Has Fashion Lost Its Originality?


Fashion and Masculinities: Casuals, Dandies, and Beards

with special guest Mr. Matthew Zorpas, The Gentleman Blogger

22 January 2015, Coventry University London Campus (CULC)


Peter McNeil, ‘Macaroni Masculinities’, in McNeil, Peter and Karaminas, Vicki, Editors (2009) The Men’s Fashion Reader, Oxford and New York, NY: Berg.

Penny Martin, 2009, ‘Introduction,’ in (2009) When You’re a Boy, London: Photographer’s Gallery. [Exhibition Catalogue].

Penny Martin, ‘Simon Foxton Interviewed in his Garden Shed, 9th May 2009’, in (2009) When You’re a Boy, London: Photographer’s Gallery. [Exhibition Catalogue].

Holly Baxter (2014) ‘Out of the Woods: Here Comes the Lumbersexual,’ The Guardian, 14th November.

Lucinda Hawkesley (2014) ‘The Great Victorian Beard Craze,’ BBC News Magazine, 17th November.

And for an insight into contemporary male fashion anxieties we recommend a perusal of GQ’s ‘Style Shrink’ Column.


Fashion and Failure

28 October 2014, Courtauld Institute of Art


Virginia Woolf, ‘‘The New Dress’’, taken from A Haunted House, and Other Short Stories, Edited by Leonard Woolf.

Alison Clarke and Daniel Miller, ‘‘Fashion and Anxiety’’, 2002, Department of Anthropology, University College London (UCL) (also published in Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture, Vol. 6, No. 2, May 2002)

Nazinna Douglas, ‘‘Failure in Fashion,’’ Essay, Not Just A Label, 26th June 2014


Fashion and the Sensory

23 April 2014, Royal College of Art


Lynda Nead (2013) ‘The Layering of Pleasure: Women, Fashionable Dress and Visual Culture in the mid-Nineteenth Century’, taken fromNineteenth Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal, London and New York, NY: Routledge.

John Potvin (2011) ‘From Gigolo to New Man: Armani, America and the Textures of Narrative,’ taken from Fashion Theory: Journal of Dress Body and Culture, London and New York, NY: Berg.

Michel Serres (2008) Section on Veils, taken from The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies London: Continuum.

Peter Stallybrass (1993) ‘Worn Worlds: Clothes, Mourning, and the Life of Things,’ taken from The Textile Reader, London and New York, NY: Berg.

Iris Young (2005) ‘Women Recovering our Clothes’, taken from On Female Body Experience: Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays,Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Additional/Supportive Material:

Summary of The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies. See page 90 for a description of Veils 

The Museum of the Middle Ages, Paris. Description of the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries


Fashion Shows and Fashion Weeks: The Spectacle and Performance of Dress

20 February 2014, Courtauld Institute of Art


Caroline Evans (2013) ‘Objects: Industrial Smiles,’ The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America, 1900-1929, New Haven and London: Yale University. pp. 185-199

Christian Dior (2007 [1957]) ‘The Showing of the Collection,’ Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior, London: V&A Publications. pp: 102-113

Sarah Harris (2014) ‘Show Business: Are fashion shows still relevant?’ 8 January, The Business of Fashion.

Julien Neuville (2012) ‘Creative Class: Etienne Russo, Fashion Show Producer,’ 1 August, The Business of Fashion.

Rebecca Arnold (2014) ‘New technology could spell the end of the size zero model,’ 17 February, The Conversation. 


Fashion and Space: An Ongoing Preoccupation

December 2013, Royal College of Art


John Potvin (2009) ‘Introduction: Inserting Fashion into Space,’ The Social Spaces of Fashion, 1800-2007, London and New York, NY: Routledge. pp: 1-15

Jess Berry (2010) ‘Flâneurs of Fashion 2.0’, Scan: Journal of Media Arts and Culture, Volume 7, Number 2, Sydney: Media Department, Macquarie University.

Rachel Felder (2012) ‘The Social Catwalk’, 10th February, Financial Times,

Rebecca May Johnson (2013) ‘The Pioneering Potential of London’s Hackney Fashion Hub’, 30th August, The Business of Fashion

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