At London College of Fashion we have made a long term commitment to promote fashion as a catalyst for change. Fashion as a discipline has the power to ‘Better Lives’, a term we use here at the college to describe the varied work we do, in an effort to improve how we live both collectively and as individuals. As part of this commitment, the college set up the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. In the five years since its launch the centre has grown to have a significant role in the industry and has repositioned the debate around fashion and sustainability and effected change at many levels.
Focussing on our responsibility to ensure that our students understand how to influence the fashion industry now and in the future, we have grown from a team of two to a collective of 14 practitioners, researchers, educators and communicators.
When we set up CSF the problems were clear, but the industry fought shy of the systemic solutions which were needed. Yet, using a bold and radical approach, we questioned our own culture as a higher education institution and engaged in a broader dialogue with the sector. CSF has undertaken ground-breaking research and has had successful and high profile collaborations and partnerships with businesses, NGOs and government.
The underlying principle that guides the centre’s work is simple but challenging: contribute to living within ecological limits while ensuring better lives for those directly and indirectly involved in fashion’s processes and practices. As the centre moves into its sixth year, this is an opportune moment to take stock, revisit some of the successes and challenges of the last five years and reflect on the principles and themes that will guide the next phase of transformational change through sustainability.
We are organising a series of events over the next year, bringing together friends and collaborators, to celebrate our achievements and seek their guidance and ongoing support for future endeavours.
In a blog post tomorrow Dilys Williams, the centre’s director, will be outlining five themes that form the pathways of CSF’s work. Each week over the next year CSF will be using this blog and their social media channels to generate a dialogue around some key projects, harvesting contributions from the core team, as well as former students and collaborators, all of whom have helped to shape the centre’s identity. I am hoping for a lively and informative online discussion helping to ensure that everything CSF does is relevant, democratic and continues to break new ground.
Professor Frances Corner – Pro Vice Chancellor, London College of Fashion