Fash P – Archive

Fashion at the Periphery – Call for Proposals

An international conference hosted by the Chicago Fashion Lyceum
October 8-10, 2020, Chicago, IL

For a generation of fashion students and lovers of fashion raised on Project Runway, fashion is defined with a hard binary: you are either ‘in’ or you are ‘out’. “Fashion at the Periphery” aims to destabilize this binary by looking at fashion issues and subjects that reside in the periphery, some by choice, others through neglect, and many as a result of injustice.

For its inaugural conference, The Chicago Fashion Lyceum (CFL) seeks presentations that might explore the peripheries of both fashion and the field of fashion studies from a variety of disciplines, points of view, theories, and methodologies. We welcome proposals from those who have a learned knowledge of fashion studies as well as from practitioners who have a lived knowledge of fashion’s systems and processes. Questions to be explored include: Which topics, methods, approaches and theories have been relegated to the peripheries of fashion studies? How do communities build their own styles on the frontiers of fashion? Are there borders and bridges yet to be crossed? What is barely visible at the horizons of fashion? What does it mean to de-center fashion? And what have we overlooked?

Through an inclusive set of papers and panel discussions, “Fashion at the Periphery” aims to open doors to new fashion theory and practiced-based research while establishing an alternate meeting place, based on the CFL’s three pillars of Criticality, Creativity, and Collaboration, to share research and theory. We especially welcome proposals from scholars and practitioners working outside of fashion’s traditional centers. In bringing together a diverse range of voices and perspectives, the “Fashion at the Periphery” conference will be a place to engage in open discussions, debate themes, and identify theoretical approaches that are under-researched and/or under- represented in fashion studies. The CFL sees the periphery as a place of community and strength where fashion studies might flourish in unexpected ways.


“Fashion at the Periphery” embraces the potential of Chicago and the CFL’s current position in the periphery as a site for critical inquiry and creative experimentation in the field of fashion studies. Not beholden to the constraint of fashion business, Chicago offers time and space to nurture thoughtful investigations and highlight voices from the periphery. Conference events will be held in downtown Chicago at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and Columbia College Chicago, as well as in other venues and museums around the city.


The Chicago Fashion Lyceum (CFL) is a community of fashion scholars, practitioners, and other engaged individuals convened to create spaces for advancing the practices of thinking, making, and research in the field of fashion studies. The CFL is a place of sharing and learning for those who have studied formally and those who bring observations from places of knowing. Through international conferences, workshops, tours, lectures, reading groups, and critical response to fashion theory writings, our goal is to enable and develop broad, inclusive, enriching, and inspiring discussions.
The Chicago Fashion Lyceum believes that fashion is an essential component of the human condition. As such, we believe it demands purposeful interrogation and innovative examination.


The Chicago Fashion Lyceum is seeking proposals for:
• 20-minute research or practice-based papers and presentations
• 7-minute papers on new research, works in progress, object, video or performance investigation, and other snippets from the periphery
• And co-proposed panels of three associated 7-minute presentations.

We especially encourage people of color, young scholars, people with nontraditional backgrounds, and others that have been marginalized in the field to submit.

Please send abstracts to chicagofashionlyceum@gmail.com
by March 15, 2020 – NEW DATE.


Caroline Bellios, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
José Blanco, Ph.D., Dominican University
Lauren Downing Peters, Ph.D., Columbia College Chicago
Jacqueline WayneGuite, National Hellenic Museum


Rikki Byrd, Northwestern University
Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago
D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Abigail Glaum-Lathbury, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Hoda Katebi, Blue Tin Production
Camille Morgan, University of Chicago
Susan Neill, Field Museum
Raul Vazquez, McGraw-Hill
Melinda Watt, Art Institute of Chicago
Lotta Yanong, The Fashion Map

27 March 2020

Dear Lyceum Community,

I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well and you are finding ways new & old to be together. 

We thank you for all of your thoughtful proposal submissions! Like you, all of us working on Lyceum have spent the past few weeks maneuvering through fluctuating unknowns, but we will soon be turning to the wealth of information you sent us. Thank you for your patience. We will keep you updated!

We cannot know what will happen in the next several months, likely many of us will have new demands on our time and reordered priorities. I intend to continue working on Lyceum with the optimistic hope that we will be able to come together in October, but the CFL Committee and I realize we may need to adapt expectations and imagine new possibilities. What is fashion if not innovative and responsive to the moment, a bellwether, a comfort, and the protective skin we fabricate to meet and transcend our challenges. Fashion shows us who we are and who we have the potential to be. I cannot wait to open up those conversations with you.

In addition to the panels we weave from the connective threads in your proposals (all of the puns and overused fabric terminology brazenly acknowledged), we will keep several slots open for “Rapid Response” submissions. These slots were reserved to accommodate new and relevant issues arising in the spring and summer to ensure the conference would reflect past and present, but the global pandemic and disruption of what we previously perceived as “normal” also necessitates new levels of flexibility and understanding. If you had intended to submit, but were swept up in much more urgent matters, or if you develop new observations and research in the next few months, please do send along proposals. Rapid Response submissions will be considered on a rolling basis, and will close near the end of the summer. 

Best wishes whether you are tackling overdue home projects, would-love-to personal projects, those recipes you keep saving to Pintrest, your Netflix watch list, that stack of books over in the corner (my sunroom is a delightful maze of stalagmites built of precariously stacked thin volumes and thick tomes!), or just enjoying time to breath by yourself or with your family. 

Take good care of yourself. We are in this together. I look forward to seeing you on the other side of the curve. 

Yours in good health,

Caroline Bellios