On Earth Day, SA stepped back into the classroom to introduce Grade 8 students to the social and environmental impacts of fashion.
We have collated our favorite activities from Teaching Sustainable Fashion: A Handbook for Educators as well as developed our own exercises to create two workshops for pre-16 learners.
These workshops hope to engage, educate, encourage and empower both educator and learner to get involved with the issues. Each workshop provides resources and tools to help lessen the impact of the fashion industry on both people and planet.
We’ve put together this video of the 1 Hour workshop in action, so that you may get a better picture on how this might work in your classroom.
This workshop was designed to introduce pre-16 students/participants the value of a responsible fashion industry, by understanding the impact our clothing has on both people and planet.
To engage students/participants on the impact their clothing has on garment workers working within the fashion industry.
To educate students/participants on the impact their clothing has on the planet, specifically in terms of best practices in laundry habits.
To encourage students/participants to ‘talk back’ to the industry, through a critical examination of fashion themes coming out of the industry, specifically surrounding beauty and wealth.
To empower learners to take back control of the impact their clothing on both people and planet.
For more information on these activities, please visit the ‘Works Cited’ page at the end of each workshop.
* If you are planning to use this lesson, please let us know so that we may keep track of our programming.*
** Please ask your students to complete the online feedback forms**
In our activity “Talking Back” students were asked to ‘talk back’ to fashion magazines, by cutting out images and placing them on a poster board either under the category “OK!” or “NO THANKS.” Students at Balmoral said “NO THANKS!” to this fashion theme.
I recently had the pleasure of stepping in as a guest speaker at Balmoral Jr. Secondary School, in North Vancouver (BC, Canada), to talk responsible fashion consumption with a fantastic group of Grade 10’s (thanks Ms. Thomson!).
Why? We got to talking recently at SA about how many of the resources we’re aggregating for fashion designers/students/educators are easily translated into resources for youth (pre-16). In fact, thanks to groups like Fashioning an Ethical Industry and TRAID (to name just a couple), so many resources on responsible fashion dedicated to students within this age bracket already exist.
Because we want to make sure teachers know where to go to access these great educational tools, we’ve pooled some of our favourites together to present to you what we think is an amazing workshop for Pre-16 students: [Fashion High] Understanding the Impact of your Clothing: An Introduction.
We want to share the experience with you here and give you all the tools you need to run your own workshop. We’ll be uploading a package for the 1 hour workshop I ran at Balmoral, as well as an extended 2 hour version of the same workshop. Like all of our content, these lessons are completely interdisciplinary.
I’ll be stepping back into the classroom at Balmoral soon, so to make sure that this workshop goes as smoothly as possible on your end, I will record some video footage to give you a sneak peak at how it all works together when put into action.
My experience at Balmoral, here in Canada, was a complete success; Not only was I inspired by these students, encouraged at how comfortable they were discussing Human Rights and the environment within the fashion context, I believe that the workshop had a real impact on the students, providing them with tangible solutions to some very big problems.
Our friends over at Re-dress in Ireland have been BUSY!
In less than one month, Re-dress will present FASHION EVOLUTION, Ireland’s 3rd ethical fashion week:
“Fashion Evolution aims to re-vitalise the spirit of the Irish fashion industry, with a schedule of exciting events catering for consumers, producers, retailers and supporters of fashion alike.” (Re-dress)
“Our mission is to provide the Irish fashion sector with the tools needed to make more sustainable fashion choices.” (Re-dress)
We don’t think they’ll have any trouble accomplishing this goal–just take a look at what they have planned!
“The fashion industry faces major challenges in both resources and labor, but designers featured in the Eco Chicexhibition strive to change the general attitude of fashion and consumption.” (Scandinavian House, on Eco Chic)
Will you be in New York sometime this year? If so, you are in luck with so many exhibits, instillations, seminars and talks surrounding responsible design in the fashion industry, including a lecture by Matilda Tham on “Metadesigning Fashion – Scenarios for Sustainable Fashion Futures” (see below). You may remember we have spoken on Matilda Tham before on SA, as she and Nadira presented their research alongside each other at this years FEI conference, back in early March. Click here for more information on her presentation and to visit the FEI conference site.
The Swedish Institute’s Eco Chic exhibition has scheduled New York as its first American stop. This traveling exhibit has been on tour since the winter of 2008, and has already visited Minsk, Kiev, Riga, Istanbul, and most recently Berlin.
“The ecological and ethical production of clothing begins with the design of a garment, and continues right through to the finished product, including the transparency of fashion companies about their production processes and materials.” (Scandinavian House, on EcoChic)
“Eco Chic – Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion opens at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, May 5, 2010 and showcases Swedish fashion designers who take an environmentally-friendly and ethical approach to their work, without sacrificing style. On view through August 21, this exhibition illuminates high-fashion alternatives to much of today’s environmentally harmful clothing.”
Symposium – Towards Sustainable Fashion Directly followed by the Opening Party for Eco Chic in Volvo Hall
Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 6:30 pm, Victor Borge Hall
RSVP required. Please respond by Thursday, April 29 to email@example.com
A symposium, in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit Eco Chic – Towards Sustainable Fashion, with fashion designers who take an environmentally-friendly and ethical approach to their work, without sacrificing style. The panel of speakers includes designers and fashion experts from Sweden and The United States – Marcus Bergman, Karin Stenmar, Sass Brown and Eviana Hartman, and is moderated by Hazel Clark, Dean of the School of Art and Design and Theory, Parsons: The New School for Design.
The symposium is followed by a party celebrating the opening of the exhibit Eco Chic – Towards Sustainable Fashion at Scandinavia House. The exhibit will be open until 9:30 pm.
Talk and Walk Eco-Fashion Going Green & Eco Chic – Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion
Wednesday, June 9, 10:30 am
FREE, but registration is required
Registration for this event will open in May
Join us for a walk through New York City visiting two exhibitions that highlight sustainability in fashion. First have a tour with curator Jennifer Farley of The Museum at FIT’s Eco-Fashion: Going Green and then visit Eco Chic – Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion at Scandinavia House.
Meeting point: The Museum at FIT, 10:30 am, 7th Avenue (@ 27th Street), continuing to Scandinavia House
This event is organized in collaboration with The Museum at FIT. For information, visit www.fitnyc.edu.
Janette Crawford, who runs one of our favourite blogs, fashion loves people, has shared a wonderful interview she had originally done forKCFreePress.com. The interview is with Liz Bohannon, founder of Sseko Designs, an organization working to provide women with tuition money they need to attend college in Uganda through social enterprise.
I wanted to share this video clip with you here, as a source of encouragement. Liz Bohannon speaks passionately on the power of social enterprise in creating sustainable change—her dedication and optimism is so inspiring! Click here for more videos from the interview.
“The design by Ruben @ Buro RuSt combines with the more than readable texts by Anne Lally combine to create an innovative, attractive description of the FWF approach to improving labour conditions in garment supply chains. In hardback or paperback.” (FWF)
Image: FWF’s focus (image from the Fair Wear formula, (c) Buro RuSt
“MADE-BY and Organic Exchange is delighted to invite you to a unique 2-day intensive seminar on sustainable fashion (clothing and textile) in Stockholm! This seminar is the perfect opportunity to assist textile and apparel professionals working in brands and retailers to come up to speed on changes and opportunities in the supply chain.
Speakers and several important topics covered include:
• Environmentally Friendly Fabrics – Understand the Definition, Sourcing and Production Issues,
• A Discussion on Recycled Materials – Polyester and Nylon,
• Responsible Processing – The Good The Bad & The Ugly of Dyeing and Finishing Industry,
• Product Integrity – Certification, Labeling, Transparency and Traceability,
• Social Compliance – Understand the Different Systems and Learn The Actual Work Done,
• Setting Sustainability Strategy – Learn from the Perspective of Leading Brands, Their Pitfalls, Triumphs and Lessons Learned,
• Communication Strategy – How Sustainability and Branding Strengthen Each Other?
• Fashion and Consumer Trends Towards Sustainability in Europe.
Participants will be encouraged to be critical, ask questions and share experiences during discussions. It would be an excellent place to actively share knowledge and information and to network at every possible level.” (MADE-BY)
Nadira and I both promised to make the slides from our presentations at the FEI conference available online, and here they are, along with a slideshow of some of the images we captured from the event. I’ve reposted the videos of the presentations for convenience.
Thanks to everyone who offered feedback, we were so grateful for your considerations. Please, keep let’s keep the conversation going!
Carolina Gomez-Aubert is the Creative Director behind Lunamano : material rescue and re-design.
Presenting both her company and academic research at the FEI conference earlier this month, Carolina passionately described the desperate situation of the women she works with in El Salvador: one woman had been turned away from working at the Maquila for getting pregnant; another was left without income when her husband, away at work in America, suddenly stopped sending money when he found someone else. Lunamano offers these women an opportunity for empowerment and the chance at financial security through socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sensitive, fair labour practices.
Partnering with local suppliers in El Salvador, the resources used to create each design have been taken from reclaimed materials such as discarded foam and the old tubing from air-conditioning units, for example.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Carolina for a long chat last week and learned so much more about the project. Now living in London, and inspired by both her El Salvadorian culture and the birth or her daughter, Carolina describes her work as the “vessel that keeps her heritage alive in a foreign land”.
To place an order, or to learn more about this exciting project, contact Carolina, here.