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Symbolic Value Of Fashion And Shifting Media Control Among Key Discussions At Fashioning The City Symposium Day One

20 September 2012 – The symbolic value of fashion, the role of flagships in fashion retail, and the shift in fashion media in developing economies were key discussions at the RCA’s Fashioning the City symposium’s this morning.

The three-day symposium, organised by Fashion research candidate Nathaniel Beards, has attracted delegates from both academia and industry, from as far afield as Brazil to Portugal and across the UK.

Earlier today, Ellen Loots from the University of Antwerp in Belgium presented research commissioned by the Belgian government into how fashion is valued through cultural worth.

The findings, gathered from 1,000 respondents, suggested that in terms of values including personal development, social dimension and creativity, fashion was generally less culturally regarded than music and design, but higher than advertising. Fashion was regarded highly for its social dimension.

Dr Carol Garcia from Anhembi Morumbi University in Sao Paulo, Brazil, presented her six-year research, ‘Erratic Images’, underlining the difference in use of image between indigenous fashion and commercialised, industrial culture.

London College of Fashion’s Karinna Nobbs’ research into the role of location in luxury flagship design proposed how the history, reputation and associations of places and buildings are adopted by brands and incorporated into flagship strategy to reinforce brand attributes.

Karinna’s presentation ended on contemplation of the advent of digital within the flagship and how such ‘digital flagships’ might be created without geographical or historical reference points.

The earlier morning session, focusing on the dynamics of fashion cultures, prompted a number of questions from delegates into the influence of fashion media in emerging economies including Morocco and Brazil.

Delegates heard from Dr Carol Garcia how the dynamics of media control in Brazil had changed: that while more avant-garde magazines had moved into cities like Rio de Janeiro, attempting to wrest control from long-established titles like Vogue and L’Officiel, it was bloggers that now dominated the space.

‘The impact of this is that they’re showing a side of Rio that’s not just a beach. It’s a mountain with a favela of 100,000 people. And that’s very different from a beach area of 5,000,’ Dr Garcia said.

According to Ellen Loots at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the symposium has had ‘wide appeal because of its focus on 'systems and structures’ and 'open-call' for submissions.

The symposium continues tomorrow, Friday 21 September, at the College's Kensington campus.