Any other fashion system, changing fashion design knowledges and beliefs in Australia

In 2018 the School of Fashion and Textiles RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia began work on reimagining fashion curricula and pedagogies across multiple education programs.

Australia as a colonised country that sits unreconciled with indigenous sovereignty implicates the basis of knowledge systems. The diaspora of European migration in Australia further adds to complexities around origins of disciplinary knowledge. Fashion systems are bound in models of industry practices derived from specific places. The nomenclature ‘the fashion system’ is attributed to Roland Barthes (1967) coined during the rise of ‘off the rack’ fashion and increased mediatisation. This structuralist modelling of the French industry has influenced fashion scholarship and based on systems of practice in Paris, as the famed fashion capital. The many circuits of exploitation, privileging of distinctly white, patriarchal and Eurocentric knowledge systems is often reinforced in fashion curricula and pedagogies.

In questioning the epistemological nature of disciplinary knowledge in fashion design we reflect on how notions of dress and wider clothing practices and cultures have been marginal to ‘fashion’ industries. We draw on Rosi Braidoti’s (2019) framework of critical post humanities related to rethinking the domains or ‘post disciplinary’ fashion. This empirical research has been conducted via the first phase of implementing a new curriculum. Flexible program structures and specialisations soften disciplinary boundaries, supporting diverse ways of doing, making and performing fashion. A series of cases of learning design and student outcomes in new courses are analysed, discussing how these support alternate learning, knowledge systems and approaches to the discipline.

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