The beginning of a year is often a time for commitment, a means to mark the beginning of something or to revitalize a waning enthusiasm. This can be on the back of a reflection on what has been going on in our own or others’ lives, a moment of being present, to see where we are and a time to think about the future and what lies ahead. Sustaining commitment, whatever your start time or place may be, depends however, not just on a pledge, but on its intention and on who and what else is involved.
W H Murray talks of how acts of initiative and creation, made as commitments, are a signal for all sorts of things occurring to help, that would have been otherwise un-dreamable.
For us at CSF, this year offers us a particular reflection, a being present and a looking forward, as we are ten. My intention, in setting up CSF was for fashion, as a set of practices, relationships and garments, to contribute to human equality and to living within nature’s boundaries. Much has changed, of course, since we set out, our first masters students have been practicing fashion design for sustainability for nearly a decade, in businesses large and small, as educators, as researchers and through their personal lives.
Our first research projects have helped us to develop methods and frameworks of participatory design, art in the public realm and through publication have become world leading references for fashion and sustainability. Having worked with more than a hundred businesses, some have gone on to win awards, to be acknowledged within and beyond the usual parameters of fashion and others have contributed to a now burgeoning practice of fashion and sustainability.
But perhaps most of all, we have learnt and continue to learn, that it is our ability to co-operate that enables us to make change. We have an incredible network of partners, associates and others towards whom we can look for encouragement, inspiration and collaboration.
I set out to change the way that we teach and learn fashion through a lens of sustainability and all students at the world’s leading fashion education institution, London College of Fashion, now have the opportunity, thanks to the CSF and LCF teams, to engage in critical consideration of the environmental and social context of their work.
We started as a team of two, and we now have world leading researchers, knowledge exchange experts leading change across some of the most influential fashion businesses around and an education team who are shaping the future of fashion through new graduate capabilities and competancies.
All of these factors and more buoy us up. But whilst the volume has been turned up on the call for action on climate change and social injustice within and beyond fashion, so too has the problem increased overall. We have greater momentum than ever, but a greater task than ever on our hands.