The Houndstooth Wraps around the globe with Copenhagen Fashion Summit and IFFTI Shanghai

F&T Staff and Students visit the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018 and IFFTI Conference in Shanghai

This week on the Houndstooth, we go global with visits to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018 and International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) in Shanghai. These key events on the fashion research and industry calendar propelled the School of Fashion and Textiles into these critical, international forums.

‘Fashion Futures’, IFFTI 20, April 10—12, 2018

This year’s IFFTI conference was hosted by Donghua University (DHU) in downtown Shanghai, one of the most highly regarded universities in China. Donghua is recognised across disciplines including fashion design, textile engineering, international trade, material science and information technology. The conference brought together participants from the fashion industry, academia and education under the theme of ‘Fashion Futures’. Keynote speakers included professor Dr Zhao Feng from Donghua University and the Chinese National Silk Museum, Professor Wu Haiyan, Dean of Design & Art College at China Academy of Art, Ye Shouzeng from the eco-friendly fashion brand ICICLE and Dr Christine Tsui, an independent fashion researcher, commentator and author of China Fashion: Conversations with Designers, as well as many others.

Associate Lecturer Gareth Kershaw accompanied two students, Masters of Fashion (Design)(Honours) student Thi Kim Oanh Luu and Graduate Kumari Pelsoczy were selected for the peer-reviewed IFFTI Student Design Competition. Students exhibited an outfit as part of the event and displayed their work in a group catwalk show. The competition received nearly 300 design entries from 25 institutions representing 12 countries, with 47 students selected as finalists. We were excited that 2 of these finalists were from RMIT. 

Reflecting on her competition experience, Kim told us, I was amazed by the quality and diversity of the student work and how well-prepared students were for the competition, though I was surprised to find out that very few of the designs were environmentally conscious. The competition, however, was a fantastic experience because I got to see students’ work from across the globe. I was also able to see the craftsmanship, fabrications, ideas, colour choices and techniques from examining the garments up close. I was also fortunate to attend some of the academic workshops at the conference; these were useful for my study, for example the organic indigo dyeing class.’

Gareth also found this ‘a fantastic international opportunity for any program to showcase the teaching and learning that goes into delivering quality fashion education here at School of Fashion & Textiles. It also provides a platform for staff and students to engage with current contextual debates around fashion practice & pedagogical themes set by the hosting institution.‘ 

Robyn Healy, Dean of School and Chair of IFFTI, was thrilled to meet Newton’s twin while visiting Donghua University’s research laboratories. Newton 2 is a Thermal Manikin System just like in the School of Fashion and Textiles’ lab. She was also introduced to the fiery mannequin, ‘PyroMan‘, in a combustible display chamber. The School is planning to purchase one of these mannequins in the near future for our Centre for Materials Innovation and Future Fashion’s (CMIFF) fire research.


Copenhagen Fashion Summit, May 15—16, 2018

Heavyweights across the fashion industry, education and media flocked this year to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit presented by the Global Fashion Agenda. The sixth year of the event looked at some of the major environmental, social, political and cultural issues facing sustainability in fashion.

CFS18 – Talk about sustainability 8

Tim Blanks leads a discussion with Tonne Goodman, Lily Cole and Amber Valletta in at the Copenhagen Concert Hall

The multi-stakeholder event, CFS 2018 presented a three day programme at Copenhagen Concert Hall of keynote presentations and panel discussions with figures such as Anna Gedda (Head of sustainability, H&M group), Orsola de Castro (Founder and creative director, Fashion Revolution), Tonne Goodman (Fashion director, Vogue US), Tim Blanks (Editor-at-large, Business of Fashion) and designer Stella McCartney. The program covered all things relating to sustainability and fashion production, from circular fashion systems, transparency in production and the digitisation of fashion, through to discussions that addressed ethical fashion practices, from model wellbeing to media representation and gender equality. 

Workshop takes place in a denim display booth at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

CFS18 - future of transparency session 2

A panel discussion addresses the ‘future of transparency’ as part of the main programme at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

Alongside this major forum, one of the the satellite programmes, the Copenhagen Youth Fashion Summit was held at Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA) between May 13-15 in the lead up to the main conference. Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) students Amanda Morglund and Julia English, and Lisa Kjerulf (Master of Fashion Entrepreneurship) participated in the Youth Summit representing RMIT alongside a host of leading fashion schools and 112 students from Asia, North and South America, Europe and Australia. 

Amanda, Julia and Lisa shared with us their thoughts, conference highlights and insights gained through being involved in the Youth Summit.

Amanda, who presented on her current honours project, ‘Mycelium Made’, an investigation into the applications of fungi to garment design and construction. She commented that, ‘I wanted to get a discussion going on the potential application for using fungi in the fashion industry to grow new materials from waste resources and repair environmental damage. In light of the summit I have been reflecting on methods of creating a circular business model around my collection to use a case study for my thesis project. The Summit enabled me to connect with some of the most engaged and compassionate people from around the world which was a really valuable experience for me. We had a strong focus on creating impact, and seeing actions taken with a clear path set out to achieve what we wanted, greatly aided by the facilitators that pushed us to get specific with our outcomes. I was thrilled that we had a direct platform to speak to influential players in the global supply chain about reforming business models to support a less wasteful and damaging use of resources. We are going to take what we have learned over the course of the 2018 summit and return in 2019 to work with the YFS business partner Pandora to develop, I’m really looking forward to this collaborative experience moving forward.’

Julia reflected that It was incredible attending the industry conference and hear major brands like Nike, H&M, Levis, and Target speaking about their goals towards achieving full circularity, it really hit home that a circular economy is the way of the future, and that change is happening. At the Youth Summit we broke into 8 groups of 14, my group was directed to focus on ‘Health and Wellbeing’, and how we can improve that and our use of natural capitals or resources. I hope to be able to continue to work in the sustainability sphere, and I felt like this experience made me realise the role my own practice played in the larger sustainable future.’

Lisa explained that ‘Together with the other students from around the globe, in the Youth Fashion Summit we workshopped for three solid days to set some strategic demands for decision makers in the fashion industry. These demands were centred around two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDG-3 Good Health & Wellbeing and SDG-5 Gender Equality. We then presented a summary of our demands at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. My favourite part of the YFS and working with so many others who are just as passionate as I am about creating real change in the industry. One of the biggest things I took away is ‘collaboration’. Not just within the industry, but also looking outside to areas such as education and government partnerships. Another key message is innovation and changing the way we look at Fashion. I’m just about to finish my Masters and am currently working for the Australian Fashion Council as well as working on starting my own consultancy, I’ll definitely be working on integrating these philosophies in my work for the best interest of people, planet and the industry.’

For further information on the recent IFFTI programme, visit and details on the Youth Fashion Summit can be found at

Also, further information on the next IFFTI conference at Manchester Fashion Institute can be found on the website: IFFTI2019.MMU.AC.UK.


Up next, the Houndstooth reports on the recent State of Fashion conference in Arnhem, The Netherlands, and the students who presented at the Copenhagen Youth Fashion Summit will present a local edition for the School community. Details to follow…