Sustainable fashion and textiles resources

FutureFabricsExpo2013-playtable

As the new academic year is upon us and we’ve been thinking about Being Resourceful, we thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the resources on hand to help with learning about sustainability and research in the context of fashion and textiles, and tools to help you apply these new design strategies and ways of thinking.

Below are just a few of the events, online resources and books we want to recommend to help you with all stages of the fashion cycle, and of course we’d love to hear any other recommendations from you. You can also find a wide range of publications, essays, articles and books by researchers and members of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion by visiting our publications page.

Materials and their impact – Whilst we know that changing the materials we use isn’t a one-stop fix-all approach for sustainable fashion, the fact of the matter is that the cultivation, production and processing of textiles is having an increasingly detrimental effect on our natural environment, as well as on communities around the world. As part of a holistic approach to creating fashion in a more sustainable way, textiles can be a key starting point for lowering the impact of fashion.

Future Fabrics Expo by The Sustainable Angle

The 4th edition of this sustainable textiles showcase will take place on 28th-30th September at London Olympia. The expo will showcase a curated collection of hundreds of commercially available sustainable fabrics, from organic silk and low impact leather, to different types of sustainable cotton, and innovations including recycled and cellulosic fibres, plus the latest sustainable fashion and textiles resources and tools from WRAP, The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and Historic Futures. Fabrics for the future will be introduced at the sustainable sourcing seminar (10.30am Tuesday 30th), and through short films, background research on sustainability, and jargon free explanations of the sustainable fabrics and processes on show. Click here to register now

If you can’t make it to the show, the new Future Fabrics Virtual Expo is a valuable online tool for designers, buyers and students new to the area of sustainable textiles and materials, as well as those with established sustainable sourcing strategies. It represents a diverse (and ever increasing) overview of sustainable fabrics and finishes, along with resources and case studies.

How we understand and think about fashion – Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, by Tansy E. Hoskins (2014)

This is a fascinating book, which has already had an impact on us, as Tansy approaches fashion and capitalism head on, exploring issues from worker rights and exploitation, body image issues magnified by the media, and the impact and effect of class, through to couture design and the revolutionary ideals of Karl Marx. The book includes excerpts from an interview with CSF Director Professor Dilys Williams, who discusses the fact that fashion’s current economic model is very short term-ist: and whilst we need to improve design practice, we must be careful not to encourage ‘good’ behavior which simply perpetuates the notion that fashion is inherently temporary and disposable.

Design Journeys, putting thought in to action – Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys (2nd edition), by Kate Fletcher (2014, 1st edition 2008)

Even though the 1st edition has been around for some time, ‘Design Journeys’ by CSF researcher Professor Kate Fletcher really is an essential book for exploring and understanding design thinking, lifecycle sustainability impacts of fashion and textiles, social innovations and systems change. In response to the rapidly changing landscape of fashion and sustainability in the context of fashion, the 2nd edition has new and updated content, examining potential future developments, and making it an essential resource and source of rigorously researched and deeply considered approaches to design.

Research for sustainable design – Fashion Design Research, by Ezinma Mbonu (2014) 

This book gives an overview of the fashion design cycle with a focus on research, which is an underpinning element of the fashion design process that can make a huge impact on the message behind the collection as well as the aesthetics, and on the environmental and social impact of creating the collection (as well as the impact of your business as a whole). The book includes insights from CSF Director Professor Dilys Williams, gained during her time leading the womenswear collections at Katharine Hamnett, and designing for luxury brand Stella McCartney.