Prosperity Fashion

13-14 February 2025
Università degli Studi di Firenze
Florence, Italy



The fashion system has been questioning for years how to decrease its negative impact on the environment and people, trying to improve individual elements: from natural, organic or recycled materials to zero-waste design methodologies, from slower production processes to socially responsible actions, from development of local supply chains to inclusive communication campaigns, from blockchain traceability of products to more reliable trend forecasts through artificial intelligence, from social engagement to large scale regulation.

Thanks to the contribution of researchers, practitioners, and activists, a new awareness in civil society about the finite nature of materials and resources has been achieved, and the definition of standards and certifications regulating fashion processes and products towards circular and closed ecosystems has been refined and broadly disseminated.

This awareness, however, often conflicts with the need for constant and exponential economic growth, on which fashion brands base their creative direction, communication, branding, and sales decisions. The last few decades, marked by climate, humanitarian and health crises, have prompted debate about the prevailing economic model centred on ‘GDP Fetishism’ (Stiglitz 2009), which consists of holding Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as definitive and universal, and thus pursuing it at the cost of dramatically burdening environmental, human, and social resources. Many researchers have gone back to the criticisms made by the Club of Rome in 1972 to verify and actualise them, fuelling the need not only for a new direction for economics and production, but also for new definitions and terminologies for this urgent change of pace: a-growth and post-development politics (Latouche 2012), post-growth fashion (Fletcher 2011), regenerative marketing (Kotler, Foglia, Sarkar 2023), restorative design (Antonelli 2019), sufficiency-based economy (Bocken et al. 2022) and post-industrial design (Cross 1981), expressions of a new approach to nature, seen as our ally and subject of an ethic of care (Gambardella et al. 2024).

Underlying all these reflections is the ambitious goal of redefining the concept of prosperity, hitherto understood almost exclusively in its economic sense, but instead indicating etymologically what is in keeping with hope, what is preferable for the future. The concept of prosperity therefore requires a new interpretation consisting of ‘a fundamental revision of the relationship between the economic and the social’ (Moore 2023), in a non-mercantile but relational prosperity (Latouche 2012).

The dimension of relationality is a fundamental component of a new conception of prosperity, conceived as a resource of both economic and human value, generated by a community within environmental and ethical constraints. This idea of prosperity has as its objective the ‘common good’ (Sandel 2021) not only of the community, understood as a group of people, but also of the trans-species, post-phenomnological (van Dongen 2019) and more-than-human (Wakkary 2021) relationships that coexist in it.

Starting from this premise and adopting the methodologies of prosperity thinking (Vignoli, Roversi, Jatwani, Tiriduzzi 2021), the conference questions the future of fashion through its possible relationship with economy, environment and society.

With its complexity, can fashion move beyond its singular profit-driven vision in order to develop the ideas of multi-faceted shared well-being? Can research into materials, processes, and fashion products shape new social and cultural models oriented towards prosperity? Can fashion be an example of this change that is capable of redirecting other knowledge and disciplines? Can the EU’s legal framework for sustainable development and the relevant EU legislation for the textile and fashion industries help drive the transition? Can fashion redirect the relationship between human and non-human, individual and territory, nature and technology? Can we move from the current ‘Fashion Prosperity’, understood as fashion’s pursuit of its economic growth, to ‘Prosperity Fashion’, a broad vision of the future and a transversal and contemporary focus on people, planet, economy, and technologies?

Scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners in the fields of fashion theory, design, communication, history, and other social sciences in their many facets and interdisciplinary contributions — by way of example, economics, politics, sociology, and law — are invited to send a proposal that contributes to shaping the concept of prosperity fashion, through transdisciplinary looks and different methodological approaches. Contributions may investigate theories, ideas, utopias, visions, experiences, projects, both of the present and of the past, which are considered representative of an idea of prosperity fashion, that is, acts of change in a fashion system that can lead to shared and widespread well-being. Some possible, but not exclusive, areas of investigation may concern: materials and fabrics; design strategies; education; technologies; geopolitics; manufacturing processes; economic and social models; codes of conduct; labeling and marking norms; sustainability and trademark protection; communication.

Submissions (in .doc or .docx format) should be structured as: Title and subtitle; Keywords (max 5); Abstract (max 400 words); References (max 5); Short biography of the author(s) (max 75 words); a sentence answering the question ‘how does the paper contribute to defining the concept of prosperity fashion?’.
Submissions should be sent in English to by 30 July 2024 indicating ‘Prosperity Fashion’ in the subject line. The conference will be held on 13-14 February 2025 at the University of Florence. Full papers, selected through a double-blind peer review process, will be published in 2025.

The conference is hosted by Fashion Highlight Journal.


Abstract submissions by 30 July 2024
Selected abstracts notification by 15 September 2024
Full paper submission by 15 November 2024
Full paper review notification by 15 January 2025
Conference (in presence and online): 13-14 February 2025

Università degli Studi di Firenze,
Department of Architecture,
Via della Mattonaia 8, Florence, Italy

Regular fee: 300 €. Reduced fee (PhD and MA students): 150 €

Elisabetta Cianfanelli, Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy)
Paolo Franzo, Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy)
Margherita Tufarelli, Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy)
Vittoria Barsotti, Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy)
Paola Bertola, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Patrizia Calefato, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro (Italy)
Cinzia Capalbo, Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy)
Luisa Collina, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Chiara Colombi, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Serkan Delice, London College of Fashion (UK)
Joanne Entwistle, King’s College London (UK)
Steven Faerm, Parsons School of Design (USA)
Maria Luisa Frisa, Università Iuav di Venezia (Italy)
Aaron Fry, University of Auckland (New Zealand)
Benedetta Giovanola, Università degli Studi di Macerata (Italy)
Taoufik Harizi, Higher Institute of fashion, Monastir University (Tunisia)
Valeria M. Iannilli, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Feng Jie, Hainan University (China)
Patrizia Marti, Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy)
Gianni Montagna, University of Lisbon (Portugal)
Henrietta L. Moore, Institute for Global Prosperity (UK)
Fernando Moreira da Silva, University of Lisbon (Portugal)
Troy Nachtigall, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Neatherlands)
Daniela Novelli, Santa Catarina State University (Brazil)
Pietro Salvatore Pantano, Università della Calabria (Italy)
Desamparados Pardo Cuenca, EASD Valencia (Spain)
Barbara Pasa, Università Iuav di Venezia (Italy)
Eugenia Paulicelli, Queens College - The City University of New York (USA)
Alice Payne, RMIT University (Australia)
Emanuela Prandelli, Università Bocconi (Italy)
Patrizia Ranzo, Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (Italy)
Todd Robinson, University of Technology Sydney (Australia)
Agnès Rocamora, London College of Fashion (UK)
Regina A. Root, College of William and Mary (USA)
Clemens Thornquist, University of Borås (Sweden)
Monica Titton, University of Applied Arts Vienna (Austria)
Ines Tolic, Università degli Studi di Bologna (Italy)
Vita Maria Trapani, Università degli Studi di Palermo (Italy)
Rūta Valušytė, Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania)
Arzu Vuruskan, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Izmir University of Economics (Turkey)

Anna Maria Azzini, Università degli Studi di Firenze
Filippo Maria Disperati, Università della Campania
Leonardo Giliberti, Università degli Studi di Firenze
Elena Pucci, Università della Campania
Andrea Quartu, Università della Campania
Maria Antonia Salomè, Università degli Studi di Firenze


Image credits: Felipe Baeza, As bare as open flesh, 2022 (courtesy of the author)