Eco-motional Fashion

type - trends
category - sustainability
sector - fashion
As climate anxieties abound, a new wave of change-makers are paving the way for a more positive, human-centric approach to sustainable and ethical fashion

Inspiring greener futures

The fashion industry is facing up to the need to operate beyond greenwashing tactics. But while most brands are aware of the need to make drastic changes to operate more sustainably, action needs to be taken to ensure the next generation of designers take an eco-conscious approach from the outset. Global consumers are demanding more from brands too, with a majority (80%) believing that brands must be transparent about their environmental impacts in the production of their goods and services (source: EY Future Consumer Index).

Recognising the need to educate and inspire the next generation of fashion designers, The Centre for Sustainable Fashion by UAL has teamed up with industry experts to create its Fashion Values education programme. Launched in collaboration with Kering, IBM and Vogue Business, the global platform offers open-access sustainability learning to inspire next-gen creators to change the damaging landscape of fashion.

To encourage change in the industry, the Fashion Values platform comprises a three-year educational programme including events, insights and a challenge to stimulate sustainable innovation. In a launch film about the project, the programme creators explain: ‘The future of fashion depends on what we value. The future of fashion depends on how we imagine ourselves to be.’

Beyond education, such initiatives are also set to pave the way for future job roles centred on sustainable innovation. These positions will focus on legacy as a key tenet of decision-making, considering the ways that today’s products and services will affect future citizens.

Published by:

3 November 2021

Author: Abi Buller

Image: The New York Times Climate Hub


Fashion Values, photography by Nadira Amrani

Fixing past mistakes

While many efforts to create sustainable fashion practices naturally focus on future initiatives, there is also a glaring need to confront past mistakes.

In response, ethical consultancies are emerging to offer brands a new perspective on the climate crisis. One organisation taking this hindsight-driven approach is Dirt, a charity promoting and funding biodynamic farming. The brainchild of model and activist Arizona Muse, Dirt aims to help businesses acknowledge past mistakes and then make commitments to restoring land.

To do this, the charity is funding scientific research into the transition of conventional farms, forests and degraded land into biodynamic farming operations. ‘I hope [this model] is going to allow brands to acknowledge they’ve been part of something wrong, without incriminating themselves, and be able to move past it – [to say]: ‘I admit I was part of the problem. Now, I’m going to be an even bigger part of the solution,’’ says Muse.

Meanwhile, Muse also sees Dirt as a conduit for bolstering fashion’s philanthropic efforts. One of the first organisations it plans to partner with is Earthbeat, which is working towards improving the gold industry for miners. By considering human and environmental impacts in tandem, Dirt's holistic approach will create more sustainable fashion futures.

Manifesting utopia

For some consumers, the threat of the climate crisis can be difficult to grasp without solidifying it in humanistic terms. And with more than half (55%) of Americans saying they are somewhat or extremely anxious about the impact of climate change on their own mental health, there is a growing need for fashion brands to address this emotional turmoil (source: American Psychiatric Association).

‘I hope [this model] is going to allow brands to acknowledge they’ve been part of something wrong… and be able to move past it’
Arizona Muse, founder, Dirt

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