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Project aims to build a sensibility for sustainability in fashion


A new fashion and textiles initiative has been launched which aims to encourage sustainable attitudes to clothing in the UK.

Professor Fiona Hackney, from the University of Wolverhampton, is a key figure in the Designing a Sensibility for Sustainable Clothing (S4S) project, which aims to co-create workshops with experts and participants investigating and re-imagining the various stages of the life-cycle of fabric and clothing through critical creative making.

The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is run in collaboration with scholars at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. It will examine the social problems associated with fashion from a user-maker-consumer perspective.

It will bring together expertise from multiple disciplines (fashion, community engagement, political theory, behaviour change and cultural geography) to push the frontiers of knowledge about how to foster pro-environmental clothing choices.

Participants will take part in making workshops which involve a wide range of creative practices from spinning to stitching, upcycling, remaking and mending garments. Clothing practices will be assessed before and after to identify any change in attitudes. Reflexive methods involve private and shared activities including wardrobe audits, clothing diaries, short reflective videos, blogs and semi-structured interviews.

Despite an increase in keeping clothes in active use for longer, overall carbon emissions are higher now than in 2012 due to the increase in the total amount of new clothing being bought.*

Professor Hackney, a professor of fashion theory at the University’s Faculty of Arts, will work closely with partners Fashion Revolution ( which campaigns against global exploitation in the fashion industry and for clothing to be made in a safe, sustainable and fair way.

She said: “We hope that this project will help us understand more about how collective approaches to learning through making might build a sensibility for sustainability that will change attitudes and behaviours about our everyday clothing choices and practices. Working with Fashion Revolution, partners, and participants, we will share project outputs and findings with policy-makers through the All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation group and contribute to DEFRA’s Sustainable Fashion Roadmap by promoting routes to pro-environmental behaviour change.”




Notes to Editors:

Informed by an ethos of social design,* S4S is a coalition of fashion designers, community groups, activists, academics and makers, who aim to build a new sensibility for sustainability in fashion by addressing practices of everyday making on a local, national, and global scale.

Picture courtesy of Gemma Bullock, MA Design and Applied Arts student. 




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