The Enterprise of Culture: the European fashion system around the world

Event Date: 
Fri, 10/06/2016 - 10:30
External Website Address: 

Friday 10 June 2016
10.30am to 5.30pm
Victoria and Albert Museum
South Kensington, London
Register here

You are invited to the final project conference for The Enterprise of Culture, a three-year European collaborative research project investigating international structures and connections in the fashion industry since 1945.

Fashion is often studied from a purely theoretical perspective, from a costume history or dress history viewpoint or from a popular media-driven vantage point.

The Enterprise of Culture breaks new ground, using the fashion business to examine how various types of cultural encounters – between ‘core’ fashion cities such as Paris and London and ‘peripheral’ areas such as Sweden and Scotland, between style labs and the high street, and between fibre makers, clothing manufacturers and retailers – stimulated innovation and created a new and competitive industry.

This one day event showcases exciting new research undertaken by the Enterprise of Culture project team and offers an insight into the European fashion industry around the world, looking at topics such as influential brands from Biba and Mary Quant to today’s H&M, Italian fashion and the role of the department store buyer, Scottish tartan and tweed, the international reach of British textiles, luxury and fashion.

Speakers include representatives from the V&A, the Centre for Business History Stockholm, the Yorkshire Fashion Archive, the fashion industry and researchers from the universities of Leeds, Oslo, Newcastle, Erasmus Rotterdam, Heriot Watt and St Andrews.

We welcome guest speaker Edwina Ehrman, Curator of the V&A’s exciting new exhibition, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear who will take a close look at the creation and marketing of a luxury lingerie brand, Janet Reger.

Fashion journalist, Lou Stoppard, will chair a roundtable discussion made up of representatives from the fashion industry to consider the conference themes in more depth and open the floor for debate.

Open to anyone with an interest in the business history of fashion, this event will bring together academics, fashion industry practitioners, students, archivists, museum curators and wider public audiences. It is free to attend but registration is required as places are limited. Please book your place here.

The conference begins with registration and refreshments from 10.00am, with the sessions starting at 10.30am. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The full programme can be found here.

The V&A will be open until 9.45pm, allowing participants the opportunity to explore the museum collections (please see here for more information: charges apply to some of the temporary exhibitions).

For more information, email

Image © Hagley Museum and Library