Designing a sustainable future through fashion education

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With production moving offshore in the race to the bottom, necessary to satisfy increased demand for more garments and faster trends delivered at lower prices, fashion in the developed world has become not just fast, but disposable. One of the ‘successes’ of the twentieth-century fashion industry was to democratize fashion; by adopting mass production techniques and sourcing from low-wage economies, fashion retailers were able to produce runway looks at more affordable prices. Concurrently, developments in fashion media sped up the communication of fashion and we have seen an exponential proliferation of enticing creative imagery circulating from brands, models, online influencers and passionate amateurs. Consequently, rates of fashion consumption have risen, unacceptable working conditions continue for many, and the fashion industry is facing complex and demanding challenges including resources, climate change, waste, labour conditions and income inequality. Much as we now understand how garment design has an exponential impact on a garment’s sustainability, and recognize that incorporating sustainable design principles is paramount, so those of us in fashion education should prioritize sustainability in our curriculum design and increasingly, I have felt a responsibility to bring these issues into the classroom, to design a fashion education that acknowledges and addresses ethical and sustainable aspects of fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalClothing Cultures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • future fashion education design teaching learning sustainable fashion pedagogy


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