Clara Vuletich, the TED PhD candidate with MISTRA Future Fashion took part in a PhD seminar on Sustainable Fashion at the Centre for Fashion Studies at Stockholm University in May. Twelve PhD students presented their research from a range of disciplines including social science, fashion theory, textile design and management studies. The Convenors were Hazel Clarke (Parsons, NY), Andrea Kollnitz (Stockholm Uni.), and Alessandra Vaccari (University IUAV,Venice). Projects included a case study of sustainable brand Patagonia using Stewart Brand’s framework of The Long Now; a study of ‘slow fashion’ in Canada; and an investigation of fashion design/creativity within the organisational context of a fashion brand. The convenors summarised the overall themes covered as:
- Importance of new methods in fashion design education to incorporate sustainability
- The notion of time in fashion and sustainability – slow, fast, long timeframes, short timeframes
- Sustainability and Modernism: an historical perspective on sustainable fashion is vital, ‘art as fashion’ and activism in fashion has it’s roots in modernism
- Place/Geography/National Identity: the stories behind fashion brands and heritage
- Consumption and users of fashion: most discourse has focused on production or design, but consumption is as important and under-explored
- Slow: is the concept helpful? Is it outdated? Do consumers of fashion or designers use this term
The convenors found it “invigorating” to see projects from theory and practice being brought together, and they emphasised that in fashion design education these two aspects should not exist in isolation. They also felt the fashion designer’s role needs to be more critically evaluated, as there is little understanding of how fashion designer’s ‘do’ design in the academic literature.