Critical Fashion Studies

The Critical Fashion Studies (CFS) research collective brings together fashion scholars, practitioners, and industry members to advance research on sustainability, ethics and innovation.

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Critical Fashion Studies collective

Based in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, the collective is an ongoing research forum for critically-engaged approaches to fashion, with an emphasis on sustainability, ethical production and consumption, and innovative design practices. In this time of economic and environmental instability and transformation, the fashion industry, fashion practitioners, and fashion scholars have much to gain from a shared, critical dialogue.

Informed by the interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary focus of Cultural Studies, and drawing on the discipline’s long history of public research, the collective is a forum for building valuable connections across industry, academia and entrepreneurial practitioners, through which the exchange of knowledge and innovative practice can take place.

Founding members

Professor Natalya Lusty
Professor Natalya Lusty

Professor Natalya Lusty

Natalya is Professor of Cultural Studies and an ARC Future Fellow (2018-2021) in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Her work examines the relationship between modernist cultural and political formations and contemporary aesthetic, political, and vernacular practices. Her Future Fellowship project investigates how the department store became an important institution for the transnational dissemination of modernist and avant-garde aesthetics alongside its cultivation of new forms of creative and educational experiences that transformed consumer experience. Two research threads on fashion have emerged from this project; the first examines the collaboration between Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli in the context of their extensive work with New York department stores. The second examines the broader history of the department store’s mission of social responsibility and consumer education with the current shift to corporate responsibility through ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability.

Dr Harriette Richards
Dr Harriette Richards

Dr Harriette Richards

Dr Harriette Richards is a research and teaching associate in the Schools of Culture and Communication and Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and the School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University. She completed her PhD at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University in 2018. Her research interests include fashion in Aotearoa New Zealand, fashion and melancholia, feminist framings of value and the future of fashion. She is currently working on a monograph entitled Fashioning Melancholia: Sartorial Aesthetics and the Settler Colonial Imagination.

Dr Rimi Khan
Dr Rimi Khan

Dr Rimi Khan

Dr Rimi Khan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at University of Melbourne. Her research is broadly concerned with creativity, citizenship and cultural economy. In 2015 she published a book, Art in Community: The Provisional Citizen, with Palgrave MacMillan. Her most recent research examines creative labour and ethical fashion economies in the global South. Her work intervenes in prevailing understandings of ethical fashion as a Western phenomenon by examining how ethical fashion is made through intercultural entanglements and more-than-local networks of creativity and solidarity.