IFFTI Conference Coming to Kent State University

Social Justice Through Fashion - Kent State University Fashion - March 23-25, 2020UPDATE: This event as been CANCELLED due to the concerns surrounding the Coronavirus/COVID19. More information regarding the conference cancellation can be found on the IFFTI Conference website. For an up-to-date status on Coronavirus at Kent State, please visit the university's website


Fashion industry elites from all over the world will unite in Kent, Ohio when the 2020 International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) Conference kicks of on March 23 at Kent State University. The School of Fashion Design and Merchandising will be hosting the 22nd Annual event in Rockwell Hall on Kent's main campus.

Established in 1999, IFFTI is a network of international fashion and textile institutions that are dedicated to facilitating innovative ideas in the fashion industry. IFFTI is composed of 61 institutes across the world in 28 different countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia. These institutions are the leading schools for higher fashion education that focuses on design, technology and business.

As Kent State University approaches the 50th anniversary of the May 4 shootings, the fitting theme of the 2020 IFFTI Conference is “Between Individual and Society: Social Justice Through Fashion.” The theme attempts to challenge fashion’s role in personal, communal and global representations of social justice. Fashion continues to be prevalent in today's society, and its influence can be felt everywhere in a myriad of ways, including in the quest for equality and justice. The Kent State University Museum will be displaying unique collections that coincide the theme of the conference and the May 4 shootings. The collection “Wearing Justice” provides a dialogue about war, peace and conflict through fashion and features works by KSU fashion faculty, students and alumni. This exhibit will run until May 31. The Museum's other exhibit,“Culture/Counterculture: Fashions of the 1960s and 70s” focuses a great deal on the generation gap that was present during this time and how it influenced fashion style.

The conference will run from March 23 to 26 and will feature a variety of events for participants to engage in. Pre-Conference workshops and tours will be offered, including a tour of the May 4 Visitor Center, the School of Fashion's TechStyleLAB, and the Design Innovation Ecosystem Tour that will feature a sneak peek at the new Design Innovation Hub that is currently under construction.  Representatives from 61 institutions and 28 countries throughout Asia, North America, South America, and Europe will be in attendance, bringing a diverse set of academics and students from top fashion institutes who will be sharing their knowledge and intercultural understanding.

The IFFTI Conference will also feature a Fashion + Justice Hackathon that allows participating students from around the world to collaborate on the topics of activism, equality, and social justice. The Conference will conclude at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland where the awards for submissions will be presented.

A variety of keynote speakers will be presenting at the conference including Nwaka Onwusa, the Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Rock Hall, Kent State alumnus and president of Apparel Group at Chico’s, Molly Langenstein and fine leather bag design and production house, FOUNT.  Onwusa will be discussing music and social protest, Langenstein will be discussing the global implications of supply and value chains and corporate responsibility and FONT  will be talking about belonging to the Cleveland community and how the emphasize sustainability and social justice in refugees and local manufacturing. 

After the conference’s conclusion in Cleveland on March 26, attendees are welcome to remain for post-conference tours on March 27. The post-conference tours include a visit to the Hubbard House in Ashtabula which is the northernmost point of the Underground Railroad and a tour of covered bridges. 

The IFFTI planning committee is seeking volunteers to help with the event. To see a list of available positions please visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0F48A9A82AAAFC1-iffti

POSTED: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 12:44am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 5:18pm