A research centre based at the University of the Arts London (UAL) has launched an online platform designed to help fashion tutors educate their students in the ways of sustainability.
FashionSEEDS is the result of three years of collaborative research undertaken by four European fashion institutions – Politecnico di Milano, the Estonian Academy of the Arts, Design School Kolding, and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, based at UAL’s London College of Fashion – involving educators in more than 70 universities across the globe.
The free platform encourages tutors to explore a range of resources intended to help improve apparel’s historically poor record on sustainability issues; in 2015, Forbes found that the clothing sector was second only to oil in the league of industrial polluters, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions.
Professor Dilys Williams, director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, was the FashionSEEDS lead.
“Education is the leverage point for change in societies, cultures and economies; in this time of climate emergency, personal and systemic change in fashion is needed more than ever,” she said.
“As fashion tutors we have the opportunity and responsibility to be changemakers; to nurture knowledge, skills and capabilities that challenge damaging practices in the existing fashion system and design new systems that restore nature and equity.”
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FashionSEEDS is broken down into four ‘pillars of sustainability’: cultural, social, economic and environmental. Users are invited to make use of a tutor’s toolkit to help build on these pillars, including a course designer and a variety of teaching activities.
Other resources include a reader acting as a stand-alone reference for sustainability in HE fashion design education, a list of useful external platforms, an aid developed to help tutors in the development of their own practice, and access to the original project reports written in the creation of the platform itself.
“We can guide and embolden each other in navigating unknown territory using trusted reference points and including practices of care and inclusivity,” added Prof Williams.
“FashionSEEDS offers tutors connectivity and shared learning to use as they tread the path of systems change.”