Fashion Week has a younger sister – called Fashion Colloquia. The two day conference moves around the globe and takes place alongside each countries’ Fashion Week. This winter edition was hosted by AMFI. Fashion professionals shared their visions on new technology, new educations and new voices.
The Fashion Colloquia is made up of a core network of four institutions, connected by their residence and involvement in the four big ‘Fashion weeks’ across the globe: London College of Fashion, Domus Academy, Institut Francais de la Mode and Parsons. As result, members of this network use the occurrence of fashion weeks to organise a series of colloquia to operate in tandem to the fashion weeks. At each edition there is a mixture of specific themes, of particular relevance to the specific location, which allows different sets of contributions to be added and explored.
This edition’s theme of ‘New Conversations in Fashion’ was key for Karinna Nobbs (LCF) and Gretchen Harnick (Parsons) who presented their paper on the developments of Social Customer Service. ‘52% of the fashion brands have already discovered the opportunities of Social Media as part of Customer Service strategy’, they unveil, ‘but integrating offline with online is still a challenge.’ Their paper is only one example of the many surprising subjects that pass in review. From research on leopard prints to garment simulation, Fashion Colloquia let its audience peek into the extensive diversity of the field of fashion.
Another element of the conference emphasized special guests with their fashionable origins rooted in the Netherlands. Madelief Hohé, Curator of the Fashion & Costume department, treated the audience on a behind- the- scenes peek of fashion exhibitions in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. ‘You are only a train ride away from the fascinating world of Coco Chanel’, she encourages us to visit the current expo. More future-oriented inspiration came from Anne Marie Commandeur, Owner and Director of stijlinstituut amsterdam, in a mesmerizing presentation on a new design landscape.
Some of the industry’s leading members met each other in a panel discussion on fashion education. The advice from the upper echelons of fashion society: ‘Specialise, specialise, specialise’. Mariette Hoitink, Founder of HTNK, affirms that it is a person’s uniqueness that attracts companies to future employees. ‘Obviously you need to be able to sell this uniqueness’, she adds. ‘You should apply at a company thinking you can add value.’
Miles Johnson, Design Director at Levi’s, is mostly interested in the enthusiasm of applicants. ‘When they turn up at an event and they are hungry and keen to learn, then there are definitely ways to sneak into a company’ he says, and maybe most importantly: ‘If you are truly committed to working in fashion, it will happen because you will create the right circumstances for you to make your mark.’
Text by Eveline Koppejan, 2nd year student International Fashion & Branding and Jade Wilting, 2nd year student International Fashion & Management.