I’ll be speaking on Sunday Morning in Boston at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. My topic really doesn’t have much to do with food per se, but it is a very relevant topic that animal advocates, animal lovers and anyone who wants to understand our current culture better, can get some use out of. The title of my talk is “Fashion & Animals: Decoding and harnessing the dialect of fashion culture to help animals”.

Edita Vilkeviciute by Nathaniel Goldberg for Vogue Nippon June 2010

What do the police, the military, religious leaders and the fashion industry have in common? This talk will focus on symbols and iconography of various forms of power communicated through dress and utilized in the fashion industry, exploring how those symbols and icons create a dynamic that not only rationalizes and excuses violence toward animals, but encourages their consumption and the display of their skins as the primary method of showcasing one’s individual sexuality, power and worth. That coupled with the fashion industry’s obsessive occupation of physical space through advertising, using imagery of fear, sex, and death, the industry is not as frivolous as one may think.

Using the visual language and dialect we observe in the fashion world to help animals is something that can be accomplished by understanding why we respond to these visual cues the way we do, where our tactical shortcomings lie, and why fashion iconography is so powerful in mainstream culture.

This is the maiden voyage of this particular talk, but I will be available to speak on this topic at conferences and universities over the next several months (please contact me if you are interested).

Won’t you join me this Sunday, October 31st at 11am at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street (at the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard) in Boston.