WAYS OF CARING – PRACTICING SOLIDARITY is organized by ArtEZ University of the Arts, in collaboration with State of Fashion.

About ArtEZ

ArtEZ University of the Arts creates opportunities for artistic, intellectual and personal growth for its internationally diverse community of students, lecturers, and researchers. Art binds us and is a catalyst for innovative ideas and alternative approaches. Our motto is: art changes. artez.nl

The ArtEZ Fashion Professorship explores and develops critical theories and practices of making, wearing and embodying fashion. In doing so, the Fashion Professorship aims to contribute to practicing alternative and solidary systems with more agency for human beings in precarious positions and more care for all living beings.

The MA Critical Fashion Practices believes in the possibility of multiple fashion systems, and together critically explore alternative, non-industrial modes and frameworks for making, doing, seeing and experiencing fashion and clothes.

Fashion Design at ArtEZ is a four-year Bachelor programme at the Higher Vocational Education (HBO) level. Developing student’s creativity takes a prominent place within the course, followed by the development of craftsman-like and practical skills, and theoretical knowledge. 

ArtEZ Studium Generale curates and organises gatherings, talks, training courses, podcasts and publications about the state of the arts and its relation to today’s challenges.

About State of Fashion

State of Fashion is an international fashion platform, based in Arnhem the Netherlands, that connects pioneers in fashion design, research and business, and shares their ideas and innovations with the world. With the theme Ways of Caring, the biennial event once again draws attention to the current state of fashion, this time specifically to repairing the broken connections and disrupted relationships in the world of fashion. Curated by Fashion Open Studios and NOT____ENOUGH collective.

About Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution was founded in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013. Since then, it has grown to become the world’s largest fashion activism movement, mobilising citizens, brands and policymakers through research, education and advocacy.


The conference ‘Ways of Caring – Practicing Solidarity’ explores how to practice solidarity in fashion. In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve heard many calls for solidarity, a more solidary fashion industry, and more solidary practices of making and wearing. Yet, what are solidary ways of making, wearing and doing fashion? What does practicing solidarity actually mean? What or whom do we need to be solidary with? What does it mean to be solidary with each other, with animals, or with the earth, for example? How should we learn to do so? What should we unlearn? And how can we create the conditions to perform solidary behaviour on the long term?

The conference starts from a critique on the non-solidary strategies inherent to the contemporary neo-liberal, market-driven society and consumer culture, and subsequently the dominant industrial fashion system. The Covid-19 pandemic again shed light on the limitations and untenability of the industry’s operations. It has – once more – revealed its non-solidary strategies of disconnection, exploitation, alienation, non-transparency, mass-production and -consumption, exclusivity, and its systemic de-humanization, de-animalization, and intersectional inequalities. At the same time, the pandemic has shown the urgency of practicing more care for others, like other human beings, living beings, or more care for the matter and materials that we live with. In this sense, the pandemic reinforced our sense of being interconnected and interdependent, which underlines that we must go beyond individualistic thinking and towards collective action.

In this conference we want to create encounters, open up conversations, and facilitate actual dialogues to collectively explore possible ways of practicing more solidarity in fashion. 

SUBTHEMES include:

Solidarity in relation to:

– systems, and ways of structuring and organizing networks
– forms of exchange and sharing
– practices of making and/or wearing
– the profession of a fashion designer
– education and (un)learning practices
– solidarity economies
– ways of caring, and wellbeing
– moral transformation of behavior
– affect and empathy
– practices of commoning
– practicing collectivity
– embodiment and agency

Special invitation to critical fashion students and young fashion designers

We value a central role for students and therefore also especially invited critical fashion students and young fashion designers. We encourage starting and future fashion designers to participate and reflect on: how do you make choices in your work practice that do not fit or go along with the dominant fashion system, and still earn money with your profession? How do you reflect on your profession as a fashion designer with regard to the future? What are you questioning? And how do you work and with whom? How can you contribute to a more solidary future of fashion?