Call for Papers: Fast x Slow Fashion: Experiences of Fashionable Consumption, 1720-2020

Fast x Slow Fashion: Experiences of Fashionable Consumption, 1720-2020
Call for Papers
Symposium at the Leeds City Museum
March 13, 2020

Shopping for fashion is about more than economic exchange and the acquisition of material goods.
It is about the performance and negotiation of fashionable identity, sensory stimulation and visual
pleasure. Fashion retailers provide spaces in which individuals can reinvent themselves and
negotiate their relationships to wider society, and consumer desire provides an opportunity for
business people to build retail empires that change the dressing habits of nations. Fashion retail is
often at the forefront of social and economic change, with the way that publicity, merchandising
and spectacle is used to sell fashion evolving in response to changing technologies of fashionable
production and communication. Historically, there have been many different sites of fashionable
consumption, from street markets to boutiques and spectacular department stores. Ways in which
fashion has been consumed have been even more varied, from the personal experience of
commissioning a bespoke suit to the frustrated desire of noses pressed against a shop window,
dreaming of the unobtainable behind the glass. Furthermore, experiences of fashionable
consumption can be both material and visual, incorporating the experience of reading fashion
publications and mail order catalogues in a domestic setting as well as that of the knowledgeable
buyer who evaluates the quality of fabrics through touch.

Coinciding with the exhibition ‘Fast x Slow Fashion: Shopping for Clothes in Leeds, 1720-2020’ at
Leeds City Museum, this one-day symposium will investigate the varied experiences of selling,
buying and consuming fashion and explore how these have changed over the past 300 years. Topics
might include:

Chairs, Rows Of Seats, Group, Meeting, Seminar, Speech- Consumption and memory
- Desire and identity formation
- Retail and business history
- Geographies of fashionable consumption
- Material experiences of consumption
- Sites of consumption
- Ethical and/or sustainable consumption

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of fashionable consumption from 1720-2020. Proposals should contain a short biography (max 60 words) and abstract (max 300 words). These should be sent to the organisers, Vanessa Jones ( and Bethan Bide ( by December 6, 2019.