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Looking back at the Fashion Business Research Centre's inaugural Fashion Business Think In

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  • Written byProfessor Finola Kerrigan
  • Published date08 October 2021
model wearing grey tailored suit

Last month we saw the Fashion Business Research Centre (FBRC) host the inaugural Fashion Business Think In. Unlike a conventional conference, contributors were invited to share their current thinking on key topics around the themes of circular economy, emerging technologies, wellbeing, and the future of fashion business education followed up by interesting discussions on challenges and future directions. The participants were very vocal in challenging the status quo and there were constant reminders of the importance of academics taking a more leading role in creating change within their areas of specialism.

This provided the opportunity for those attending to discuss how their research and teaching addresses some of the most challenging issues facing the fashion industry such as the climate emergency, the legacy of colonialism on the industry, challenges and opportunities coming from new technologies and new ways of researching the industry. Links between colonialism, contemporary abuses in the supply chain, the link to animal rights, human rights and the climate emergency were acknowledged, and ways forward were identified.

We saw some engaging discussions from both internal and external researchers and PhD students. The external engagement came from institutions such us University of Glasgow, RMIT Australia, University of Leeds, University of Birmingham, HEC Montréal Canada, Glasgow Caledonian University, Lund University Sweden, Emlyon Business School France, Middle East Technical University, Technological University Dublin, and Manchester Metropolitan University, thereby giving some great visibility for our Centre and the amazing research we continue to undertake.

The first day had two dedicated sessions focused on circular economy, wellbeing, and emerging technologies. The end of the day saw Harold Tillman CBE presenting his keynote and continuing to respond and engage with the panel and participants as we discussed the way forward for the fashion industry whilst battling climate change, wellbeing, and sustainability related concerns. The importance of educating the future minds and the role that the Fashion Business School at LCF can play was highlighted as well as the relevance of the research being undertaken at the FBRC.

Day 2 saw doctoral students coming together to present and discuss their work which was embedded in key challenges for the fashion industry. This was followed by a session on the future of fashion business education where topics from sustainability to intellectual property to diversity and inclusion, mental wellbeing, and statistics formed part of the discussions!

The two-day conference came to an end with a session whereby esteemed editors from leading journals in marketing, consumer research, entrepreneurship, and organisation studies came together and focused exclusively on the route to publishing fashion business research in these journals.