‘Fashion As Sustainability In Action’ guidebook launches
After almost three years of extensive research, Rethinking Fashion Design Entrepreneurship: Fostering Sustainable Practices (FSP), is today publishing its extensive findings from its deep analysis and survey of over 300 creative practices in design-led UK based micro and small fashion enterprises (MSEs).
Led by Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) in partnership with The Open University and Middlesex University’s Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research, FSP has culminated in the production of the UKs most in depth and definitive guide to creating and recognising fashion as a contributor to cultural, social, environmental and economic prosperity: a blueprint for how the UK’s world-leading design entrepreneurs can lead fashion in the Race to Zero, based on values of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Calling on Government to Implement Policy Changes for good jobs and climate positive practices in the UK Fashion Industry
After almost three years of intensive research, Rethinking Fashion Design Entrepreneurship: Fostering Sustainable Practices (FSP), is today publishing its extensive findings from its deep analysis and survey of over 300 creative practices in design-led UK based micro and small fashion enterprises (MSEs). Led by Prof. Sandy Black and Prof. Dilys Williams from Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, in partnership with The Open University and Middlesex University’s Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR; a partner in Surrey University’s Centre for Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity), FSP has culminated in the production of the UKs most in depth and definitive guide to creating and recognising fashion as a contributor to cultural, social, environmental and economic prosperity: a blueprint for how the UK’s world-leading design entrepreneurs can lead fashion in the Race to Zero, based on values of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Supported by organisations including: British Fashion Council, Common Objective, Africa Fashion Week London; UK Fashion & Textiles Association, Textile Centre of Excellence and Not Just A Label, and with expertise from LCF’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise, FSP has worked with UK Fashion creatives and support organisations to reveal what sustainability in action looks like on the ground, to elevate and promote best practise and share ways of working, to show fashion’s social and cultural contribution, within nature’s limits.
This collaborative research, underpinned by over two and a half years of work with more than forty fashion MSEs and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (part of UKRI), has been translated into an interactive guide, ‘Fashion As Sustainability in Action.’ The guide is a reference tool and a go-to-resource for those who are identifying, supporting, mentoring, showcasing, and investing in fashion MSEs. It introduces ways to recognise designers whose practices do, or could, contribute to cultures, societies, and ecological and economic systems that are life and livelihood-sustaining as well as creatively fulfilling.
Evidence has been gathered from over 100 in-depth interviews with UK-based designers including recent winner of the BFC Vogue Fashion Fund, Bethany Williams and pioneering designers including: Phoebe English, Rejina Pyo, Alexander White, Elvis & Kresse, Nuw, Petit Pli, Birdsong, Finisterre, Away to Mars, Boy Wonder, Save Your Wardrobe and Vin + Omi – as well as core partners Raeburn, Unmade, Riz Boardshorts, Michelle Lowe Holder and Martine Jarlgaard. The guide offers a verifiable account of sustainability in action and demonstrates new possibilities for the fashion sector in the UK, keeping the earth and social equity at its heart.
UK fashion design businesses have long played a key role in the global industry, sustainable design entrepreneurs are now emerging to show how the UK can play a vital role in the national and global transition towards Net Zero emissions, a more equitable society and ecological and social justice commitments. Although the fashion sector has made some progress towards addressing its negative impacts on the environment, its trajectory remains at odds with UK climate commitments. The continuation of the current pace of incremental improvement against sustainability targets is not sufficient to create the fundamental changes needed to turn around this extractive and exploitative system. Therefore as well as the launching today’s guide – ‘Fashion As Sustainability in Action’, Fostering Sustainable Practises is also releasing a Policy Briefing which sets out how government and other supportive actors can help to amplify sustainability in action, recognising and supporting the work of these pioneers and giving opportunities for others to join them. FSP investigates the creative and business practices in design-led fashion MSEs as a driver for transformational change. Many of these practices of sustainable prosperity are not recognised and designers struggle to survive in the face of targets that are limited to economic growth. This is why fashion designers and leaders in businesses seeking to disrupt and question the fashion status quo are at the heart of this research and the heart of the vital post-covid UK recovery.
Professor Dilys Williams, Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion said: “There’s lots of interest in fashion, in relation to climate and social justice and equity, however it is at the large scale end of fashion where the majority of attention is focused. Whilst action is needed across fashion, we identified that what was happening at a micro level could offer insight into what a de-carbonised, de-colonised fashion system might look like. The results are very exciting, as micro and small businesses make up over 99% of businesses in this country, the findings provide valuable insights which governments now have the opportunity to cement into policy.”