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UAL Research Online

Sustainable Fashion? Developing new narratives

Black, Sandy (2012) Sustainable Fashion? Developing new narratives. In: Professorial Platform, 26th Nov 2012, London College of Fashion.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Black, Sandy

This talk, based on Sandy Black’s latest publication, The Sustainable Fashion Handbook, examined the new narratives that are emerging from a growing number of small and large companies and individuals, helping to transform practices towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

The notion of sustainable fashion seems to be paradoxical, an oxymoron – how can fashion ever be sustainable, with its focus on novelty and endemic obsolescence?

Due to heightened awareness of environmental and ethical issues, there is a growing consensus that over-consumption of faster and faster fashions in developed countries has to stop. But fashion is part of our DNA, bound up with concepts of identity and personal expression, a cultural construct embedded in the collective psyche that will certainly not disappear – nor need it. Fashion systems are complex, and fashions function in a variety of ways: limited edition hand crafted pieces may be treasured for years to become future heirlooms; conceptual fashion pieces have a life beyond the catwalk in the art gallery or museum, and in the academic record; designer fashions stimulate mainstream fashion, one of the most significant global industries. Over recent decades, fashion has become democratised, from the diffusion of Burberry to the ‘fast fashion’ phenomenon on the high street, making fashion accessible to an ever wider public, but reducing its value.

There has been a severe human and environmental cost to this rapid expansion of low-cost fashion and consumption, pressures felt most keenly by overseas manufacturers, garment workers and subsistence farmers who grow fibres such as cotton or cashmere. Media coverage and high-profile campaigns exposing malpractices have raised the bar; a paradigm shift has seen consumer demand for transparency and traceability in the production of clothing. There can be no turning back. An uncompromising global agenda has been set – the greening of the fashion industry has become an imperative.

Official Website: http://www.arts.ac.uk/research/research-staff/professoriate/professorial-platform-lectures/sandy-black/
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Sustainable Fashion
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Research Centres/Networks > Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Date: 26 November 2012
Related Websites: http://issuu.com/ualresearch/docs/sandyblack
Event Location: London College of Fashion
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2014 16:36
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2014 17:32
Item ID: 6459
URI: http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/6459

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