The 3rd (Non) Western Fashion Conference at HKU

The 3rd (Non) Western Fashion Conference held at the University of Hong Kong from November 22 to 23 has come to an end. Here are some highlights.

With the keynote speakers of the 3rd (Non) Western Fashion Conference at HKU. From the right is, Dr Toby Slade from University of Tokyo, an Australian scholar who has made one of the best presentations in fashion studies. I believe that his next book will make him the leading figure in Japanese fashion culture and theories; Professor Peter McNeil, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney, professor of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. Nearly all researchers / students in fashion studies have read at least one of his books. Professor Hiroshi Narumi from Kyoto Women’s University. I told him that he must feel very happy with teaching in a women’s university and he said, “I am very shy. Facing more than 100 girls in one class and I don’t know where my eyes shall look at.” For the first time, I found that Japanese people are also very humorous. This was how he opened his speech “my English is not very good… My English used to be okay but it is becoming worse because Japanese economy is getting worse.”

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With Prof. Jennifer Craik, one of the most important contributors to fashion theories. Author of The Face of Fashion, The Key Concept of Fashion. Most of her works are the must-read textbooks in fashion institutions. Most designers are not interested in theories because they are too dry and boring, but Jenni’s books are easy to understand and very suitable for design students to understand the meanings, social and industry significance of fashion.

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With Emma Dick. Together, we have joined (Non) Western Fashion Conference for 3 years. Emma is one of my favorite researchers. All her projects focus on supporting women’s development in developing countries (like Bhutan and Uzbekistan) through fashion.

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With Karen Shia. She is an independent sustainable fashion designer and also teaches in university in British. As British is cutting budget on education, the competition for teaching positions is getting fiercer. Many good scholars cannot land with a full time job and can only teach part-time. So Karen is very grateful that she has a full time job. People who are working should not complain, as there are so many other unfortunate people around the world.

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Dr Toby Slade from University of Tokyo did one of the greatest presentations I’ve seen at fashion conferences. From presentation skill, personal image and PPT to his research objectives, methodology, arguments and conclusions, everything was done perfectly. His theories are also very solid but at the same time easy to understand. Some people in the ivory tower like to speak in a language that other people cannot understand. These “scholars” intentionally make a simple logic sound difficult and obscure in order to show off their “expertise”. If one’s speech cannot make other people understand, how is it different from farting? Forgive my being rude, but I guess rudeness is the most effective way to deal with hypocrites.

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@ (Non)Western Fashion Conference, HKU. With Natasha from London College of Fashion

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@ (Non)Western Fashion Conference, HKU with Chen Bin from Shanghai Donghua University.

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I know there are 3 ways of clothing pattern cutting: draping, flat cutting and bias cutting. Learned another way today at the Non-Western Fashion Conference – moulding.

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Japanese designers have always been great inspirations for Chinese designers, especially the milestone Japanese designers who first broke into the Western fashion field in the 1960s and 1970s – Issey Miyake, Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto. They are milestones in fashion development (particularly to Non-Western fashion), but their halo also impeded the development of their potential successors (by Professor Hiroshi Narumi)

Dr Sarah Cheang fm London Royal College of Arts. She introduced the position of Chinese dragon robes in the English society and how it influenced English women’s dress in the mid 19th century to early 20th century. Most people (especially the general public) believe that fashion was started from Europe and that European / Western fashion has been influencing the world fashion. I personally think that the success of Western fashion does not rely on the success of its ‘fashion’ itself, but on the success of its ‘fashion system’. The success of its system is again deeply related to its strong capitalism. The fact is that Western fashion from the beginning has been absorbing nutrition from fashion from other nations/cultures – from China, Japan, India, Africa and Egypt etc. All these become part of “Western Fashion.” Non-Western fashion does not make it to the mainstream because the absence or the weakness of their capital system, and also because their over-emphasis on ‘nationalism’, which restricts Non-Westerners from keeping a welcoming attitude to other national cultures.

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Chen Man may be the most famous Chinese fashion photographer in Westerners’ eyes. Personally, I feel her style shows a strong intention to cater to Westerners’ tastes. But she has her own language, which is very critical in gaining attention from the international spectators.

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With volunteers at the (Non) Western Fashion Conference. The first photo is with Mao and Katherine. In the second photo are Ricky and Hyacina from Africa. There is another Taiwanese girl Chiang Fang who also helped a lot. Thanks dear everyone for your great help!!! The conference would not be accomplished without your positive, proactive and passionate contributions!

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Thanks God that (Non) Western Fashion Conference has come to an end. I’m especially thankful for the student volunteers who have come to help out. I totally trust your reliability. It’s proven again that HKU students are very outstanding, probably even better than employees in some companies. I also want to thank all the participants who flied a long way here just to participate this 2-day conference. The good thing about small-scale conference is that there is time for longer/deeper dialogues and that there is time for making really close friends. Thanks my dear Lord for everything you have done for me!

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