Category Archives: Tutor Education

WATCH // Media Theorised: Reading against the grain


What role does advertising play in journalism? Who funds and controls media coverage? Why is representation so important? How are stereotypes produced and reproduced through the media? Does the medium that we use consume information matter?

And, what does any of this have to do with responsible fashion?

The Listening Post has produced a series of short animated films introducing five media theorists: Roland Barthes, Noam Chomsky, Stuart Hall, Marshall McLuhan, and Edward Said. Media Theorised is a project that calls for a critical engagement with the media, and is a nice resource to share with friends, colleagues and students.

Many of the entanglements highlighted by these theorists are brought to the surface through the project itself, with respect to how it is shared and consumed, and all of these tensions would make great topics for further discussion: for example, the fact that I am sharing this content with you through a blog post on an English-language website; that the Media Theorized project was itself developed by a media network (Al Jazeera), and that each video has little Google advertisements that pop-up, and sometimes play before the video starts—a  reminder of the role of advertising in media (briefly mentioned in the Noam Chomsky piece); or the fact that you may have found this post through social media, and may be reading this content on a tablet, phone or laptop.

A couple of years ago I briefly shared some thoughts on how one of these tensions plays out in media stories related to labour rights for IANS: sponsored content surrounding responsible fashion, where the lines between corporate interests, corporate social responsibility, and critical journalism (or even bad journalism, for that matter) become blurred. Although I was picking on The Guardian at that time, the takeaway was that a critical lens is needed when reading any and all media coverage related to these issues (including coverage produced on this site).

I hope you’ll find these resources relevant and interesting. I’ve embedded a couple of the animations below. Each film comes with an essay and a downloadable poster – who doesn’t love a good poster?

Garment worker wages: select reports on trends and analysis from 2014

ILO 201415 Global Wage Report


The International Labour Organization (ILO) has just released their 2014/2015 Global Wage Report. While the report is not specifically focused on garment worker wages in fashion and apparel systems, it does overview global trends and highlights wage gaps, and I think it’s a good one to read through and bookmark to keep on hand.

With the report, the ILO has included a couple of short video clips explaining key terms, such as real wage and labour productivity, average wage and PPP$.

ILO videos re 201415 Wage Report

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) published three reports in 2014 relating to wages for garment work in the fashion and apparel sector:

Living wage in asiaStitched up 2014

Tailored Wages 2014

And of course, this worthwhile read from the CCC and the Asia Floor Wage in 2009 remains highly relevant: Stitching a Decent Wage Across Borders.

Stitching a decent wage across borders










Click here for the full list of CCC publications.

What resources have you turned to in 2014 for trends and analysis relating to garment worker wages? Share in the comments below, or let us know via Facebook and/or Twitter.


Test your knowledge! And track fast fashion with this interactive Africa study map

How well do you know your geography when it comes to Africa? Unfortunately, many of us need to study up.

This online tool could be a great addition to learning activities on fast fashion supply chains – specifically on second-hand trade.

Add this tool to:

via Africa is a Country

Africa Study Map

Fashion Futures 2025: Global scenarios for a sustainable fashion industry

New Resources for tutors and students!

What will the fashion industry be like in 2025? How might the role of the designer or consumer change? And what can we do now to shape our future?

Thinking about the future can be daunting because we are bound by what we know and what we have experienced, but it can also help us to see things from another perspective; to inspire debate and innovation. In response to this, Fashion Futures has designed four scenarios that help us to picture the future beyond our existing knowledge of the fashion industry. Each scenario is presented through a range of materials that are creative and thought provoking. Although the project has been available since 2010, a new set of educational resources has recently been added to support the use of these scenarios at the university level.

In my experience, sustainability can be off-putting to some tutors and students, especially when the issues appear to demonise fashion or where there is a negative focus. For others who are already engaged with these issues, social and environmental concerns can sometimes lead us to question why we are in fashion at all. This project opens up the sustainability debate by presenting it in a broader context, challenging preconceptions, and exploring opportunities. A highlight of this program is that it introduces ‘design thinking’ to a fashion audience. Design thinking involves taking a human centred, collaborative approach to complex design problems. Its methods include user-centred research, brainstorming and prototyping. With this practical framework, students are guided through a thinking process that addresses these ‘big’ issues in a positive and empowering way.

Fashion Futures 2025, is a good introduction to a wider debate on how we can redefine the fashion industry to better suit the needs of both people and planet. Information about this project, including the new materials for tutors and students, can be found on the Fashion Futures website.

Stay tuned for more on this project, as SA will be featuring this Forum for the Future resource in the SA Google Earth Module which will be released later this year.


Other Resources //

Ted Talk Tim brown urges designers to think big

Design thinking for social innovation By Tim Brown & Jocelyn Wyatt


Get schooled in ‘Economic Complexity’ with MIT and Harvard

Licensed through the Creative Commons, The Atlas of Economic Complexity: Mapping Paths to Prosperity is a collaborative project that builds visualizations on import/export trade flow of products and goods. Once the visualization is built, learners can scroll their mouse over each category for further details.

Click here to read up on the research methodology used.

With green marking ‘garments’ let’s check out a tree map of Cambodia for exports in 2009 (click on the image to be taken to the interactive map):

Visualizations can also be built in stacked area charts and product space visualizations. Here’s a product space map of Hong Kong exports for 2009 (remember, green represents garments!):


Anti-Slavery International targets European Parliament through Cotton Crimes campaign

Anti-Slavery International has recently relaunched their Cotton Crimes campaign with a new video.

It is our hope that, through our short video, we will reach out, inform and encourage people to act in the interests of the children of Uzbekistan.” (Samuel Cooper, Anti-Slavery International)

Anti-Slavery International is calling on the European Parliament to remove preferential trade tariffs with Uzbekistan. Click here for more information and to sign the petition.

Over 60 international retailers have joined forces to boycott Uzbek cotton, publicly stating their commitment to the eradication of forced child labour through the Responsible Sourcing Network, an As You Sow initiative.

Click below to learn more about what’s happening inUzbekistanand to follow our ongoing coverage:

LEARN // Social Alterations / A Closer Look / Uzbekistan

READ // Let’s Clean Up Fashion 2011, Labour Behind the Label reports

Labour Behind the Label has released a new report, Let’s Clean up Fashion 2011: The state of pay behind the UK high street (LCUF).

With respect to a living wage on the high street, this is the 5th edition in a series of LCUF reports from LBL.

The findings have ranked Levi Strauss and Gap Inc. with a score of 1 out of 5 (along side H&M, and others), while Zara, Monson and NEXT were found with the highest scores at 3.5 out of 5.

According to LBL, initiatives taking living wage seriously must be grounded by four essential pillars:

  1. Taking a collaborative approach
  2. Worker organizing and freedom of association
  3. Examining commercial factors paying the cost
  4. Rolling it out: developing a route-map for sustaining a living wage

The fact is that workers do speak out to demand better wages. At best they are often ignored; at worst they are persecuted, threatened, dismissed or harassed. Companies must do more to ensure respect for trade union rights in the quest to provide a living wage for garment workers.” (Labour Behind the Label, Let’s Clean Up Fashion 2011: Pg. 1)

Readers who have followed LBL’s LCUF reports in the past will likely be surprised to see Gap Inc. with such a low score, considering the company received one of the highest grades in the 2009 report. According to LBL:

Gap plans to work on developing good management and human resource systems with suppliers, which are needed. However, Gap supplied no evidence of plans to translate this work into real wage gains for workers. More worryingly, it states its intention to focus mainly on the achievement of compliance with minimum wages. This shift seems to suggest Gap has given up any plans to work towards providing living wages to workers in its supply chain altogether. We hope this isn’t the case.” (Labour Behind the Label, Let’s Clean Up Fashion 2011: Pg. 28)

LBL has created on online petition calling on Gap and H&M to do more. Click here to take action.

For readers on twitter who’d like to spread the word, here are some suggested tweets via LBL:

  • Which highstreet brands are doing most to improve pay & conditions for workers? Find out from Let’s Clean up Fashion:
  • Who’s ethical on the highstreet?  Find out in the NEW edition of Let’s Clean up Fashion: @labourlabel
  • Enough to feed your family – too much to ask? Gap & H&M seem to think so. Take action to ask them to reconsider:

Click here for company profiles and scores, and here for advice from LBL on where to shop.

ATTEND // Sustain – Fashion/Textile Tutor Conference, Fashioning an Ethical Industry

Ethics are on the agenda. Those involved in fashion education need to be teaching the next generation of industry players – fashion students – about the social and environmental impact of the industry so they can find creative and innovative solutions in the fashion industry of the future.” (Fashioning an Ethical Industry)

28th September 2011  – 10.30 – 3.30
Impact Art’s new Eco-chic Shop, 45 High Street, Glasgow

This conference for fashion & textile tutors will feature industry and academic speakers and will provide those involved in fashion education:

  • with background information to ethics in the industry
  • ideas and resources for integrating ethics into your teaching practice
  • opportunities to network and share experience, resources and ideas with other participants

TO BOOK YOUR PLACE, please email: with your full university and contact details.

Source: FEI

LEARN // We Day introduces new teacher resources for pre-16 learners

Just in time for the new school year, Free the Children has launched an updated We Day website, showcasing their lesson plans for elementary and secondary school educators and learners.

Topics include the Millennium Development Goals, children’s rights, clean water, hunger, education and community mapping, among others.

This is what it’s all about—empowering educators to empower learners. Although the lessons and activities are not published through the Creative Commons, they are downloadable for free in PDF.

Here are some videos on child labour and globalization, presented by Dr. Jonathan White, Professor of Sociology and Political Economy at Bridgewater State University:

Will your students be participating in We Day this year? If not, these lessons will surely inspire them to want to get involved.

Otto von Busch Hacks Fashion Theory

As you know, we’re huge fans of Otto von Busch for his innovative work and research in ir/responsible fashion and hackivism.

In a recent project, Otto hacks fashion theory through a series of small booklets. We’ve just added them to our required reading list and so should you!

Fashion is the celebration of the immediate future. By being constantly new, fashion indicates that the future can be something else, and it pulls us there, by force almost, promising the endless possibilities of the new, the unwritten, our possible better self.” (The Virus of Fashion, Axel Trumpfheller and Otto von Busch: Pg. 27)

Click here to access and download the booklets.

Thanks to TED for sharing this project with us (stay tuned for the launch of their new site), and congratulations to Otto on his new post as Associate Professor of Integrated Design at Parsons New School of Design in New York!