European Fashion Heritage Association

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EFHA 2021 ‘Crafting Heritage’ – now on VIMEO


Some reflections and all the videos of the conference ‘Crafting Heritage’, finally here

The EFHA 2021 conference ‘Crafting Heritage’ took place on December 10 2021: a day packed with thought-provoking presentations, diverse in themes, subject matter and points of view. “Traditional craftsmanship is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage”: moving from the definition of craftsmanship given by Unesco, the conference explored how fashion and its products – textiles, accessories and clothes – can inform a better understanding of the relationship between craftsmanship and heritage.

The conference presented first-hand experiences in researching and preserving fashion objects and the knowledge they bear in their materiality; special projects in which fashion houses and local craft workshops collaborated; craft as resistance and “language” of activism, to fight social inequalities and imagine a better future, updating – mainly through digital technologies – past making processes. After an introduction by Marco Rendina, EFHA’s director, and Filippo Guarini, director of the Museo del Tessuto di Prato, Anna Carniel and Marta Franceschini from EFHA explained the origins of the conference and the choice of the theme, which is interconnected with the CRAFTED project the association recently joined.

EFHA 2021 – 01 introduction to the conference from European Fashion Heritage on Vimeo.


The first panel, introduced by Gabriele Monti and Margherita Tufarelli, explored the nuances of Restoring craft. It saw the participation of Celine Vogt, Head of Education, Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, who introduced the audience to the immersive exhibition project ‘Homo Faber’; Isabella Villafranca Soissons, Director of OPENCARE, who described – thanks to the voice of Guliana Capasso, the fascinating process of  restoration of a Christian Dior shoe; Stephanie Ovide, Textile Conservator, Phd candidate in Science  and Art Creation Research at Ensad/Psl University, who delved into the contemporary practice of conserving fashion, starting from her experience in the Balenciaga collection; and Laura Fiesoli, Responsible of Contemporary and Digital Area of the Museo del Tessuto di Prato, who presented the “Stitch” Project, focussed on European traditional costumes.

EFHA 2021 – 06 Panel 1 | Restoring: Roundtable from European Fashion Heritage on Vimeo.


EFHA 2021 – 07 Panel 2 | Reactivating: introduction from European Fashion Heritage on Vimeo.

Karolien De Clippel and Adelheid Rasche set the tone for the second panel, focussed on the techniques and strategies used in Reactivating craft, and included Nadia Albertini, Embroidery designer and fashion historian, who discovered and revamped the work of Rébé; Gloria d’Este, an experienced weaver from tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua, who described some of the techniques developed in Venice and widely admired by the fashion world, as the Velluto Soprarizzo; Pauline Gandiol, Responsible of Istituto dei Mestieri d’Eccellenza in Italy for LVMH Creation, who presented the point of view on craft in the luxury sector; Maria Claudia Coppola from Università degli Studi di Firenze, who told the fascinating story of the Prato textile district: a story of vanguard and tradition; and Ariel Stark, who explained what it means to reactivate contemporary and historical fashion heritage at the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation.


The third and last panel, guided by Djurdja Bartlett and Marco Pecorari, challenged the most ‘traditional’ side of craft by presenting experiences in which craft means Resisting: Leonardo Giliberti, from Università degli Studi di Firenze, talked about the digital tools useful to travel in time through archives; Mariah Majolo, an independent Researcher from Università Iuav di Venezia presented her project feminist and social project FuxiCo; Myrsini Pichou, ATOPOS cvc Research Advisor, who through the description of nine paper dresses by Issey Miyake explained how memory can be ‘crafted’; and finally Eldina Begic, PhD Candidate, from UAL – LCF, who introduced her research and theoretical tools to understand craft as a tool of resistance.

EFHA 2021 – 19 Panel 3 | Resisting: Roundtable from European Fashion Heritage on Vimeo.

The roundtables that followed each panel, chaired by the members of EFHA’s scientific committee, dealt with the specificities of each paper as well as trying to make connections on the concepts the papers brought forward. As expected, the conference didn’t propose solutions to hefty problems, or showed the right way to deal with craft and heritage, but concentrated on laying out the issues and complexities of the theme, in order to allow people to reflect on how we can act now. We at EFHA will surely take into account the inspirational talks in our own practice.

Now all the videos of the presentations and discussions can be accessed via our Vimeo channel – enjoy them HERE.