Reimagining Fashion – a roundup of our webinar series
Throughout the course of February, a series of four webinars took place to provide support and inspiration to potential applicants to this year’s Competition by exploring different topic areas related to the sustainable fashion industry.
The series kicked off with a webinar entitled: Reimagine the Lifecycle of Clothes. In this webinar, Nin Castle of Reverse Resources explored how to improve end of life solutions in order to enhance the industry’s sustainability and circularity. This included an overview of where the fashion and textiles industry is currently, the different sustainability commitments being made by brands and other organisations and what this means for the industry and the types of changes and transitions that will need to occur to make these commitments. Nin also highlighted emerging solutions that are working to enhance circularity within the fashion industry.
The second webinar, Reimagine the Power of the Consumer, explored the power we as consumers have in calling for change within the fashion industry. Led by Designer and Sustainable Fashion Activist, Marina Spadafora, the webinar looked at how ethical and fair trade approaches can – and are – setting new standards for the industry from a consumer perspective. Marina gave her insights into why we need transparency in the fashion industry and tips into buying more sustainably.
This was followed by a webinar entitled Reimagine the production of clothes to make it transformational. In this session, Gloria Gubianas of Spanish-Tibetan brand Hemper Handmade presented ways to improve value chains across production cycles, thus supporting transformational change for marginalised communities and creating an ecosystem of inclusivity within the fashion industry. At the centre of this was the triple bottom line model which gives equal weight to ecological, social and economical values, and in doing so encourages brands to be more sustainable in all three areas at the same time.
Finally, the fourth webinar, Reimagine Demand: design strategies for consuming less, looked at what is needed to make the fashion industry produce not just differently, but less. Dr. Irene Maldini, Researcher in Design for Sustainability at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences presented the findings from her PhD research (titled: Can design confront consumerism? : A critical study of clothing volumes, personalisation, and the wardrobe).
Highlighting the fact that production is the most impactful phase in the lifecycle of clothing, she explored common design strategies thought to lead to less demand (and in doing so reduce production) – including greater personalisation. Based on the assumption that people would place higher value on personalised clothing and therefore buy less (reducing overall demand), she carried out wardrobe audits of two distinct groups of people: one test group with a higher proportion of personalised clothing, and another with more off-the-shelf items. By monitoring the inflow and outflow of clothing items in each subject’s wardrobe over a 6-month period, she found that personalised garments were not kept for longer time, nor were they used more frequently than ready-made items. Given that this conclusion contradicts conventional thought, it underlines the need to carefully test the effectiveness of sustainability strategies prior to roll-out.