Students weave plan for sustainable fashion future

Students weave plan for sustainable fashion future

The inaugural Fashion & Textiles Youth Assembly brought students together from across the School of Fashion and Textiles on Tuesday to discuss the state of the current and future fashion industry.

Discussions focussed on how education and the fashion industry can work together on developing an agenda for a new, visionary system with sustainability at its core.

Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) alumni Julia English and Amanda Morglund organised and led the day-long event, drawing on their experiences of the 2018 Youth Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, the world’s largest conference on sustainability in fashion.

English said she hoped that the Assembly, which took two months of planning and preparation. would help students understand all facets of sustainability.

“You can’t put sustainability in a box, it encompasses so much more,” English said.

“One of the interesting things about fashion is that it’s a female dominated industry, but the supply chain and management roles are male dominated. So, sustainability is not just about minimising waste and recycling, but also about creating gender equality in all facets of the industry.”

“The future fashion industry needs practitioners who are business, environmental and consumer savvy and who think about how we consume fashion in a holistic manner.”

Morglund said the aim of the event was to provide students with the resources to apply sustainable practices to their own processes to cultivate a sustainable fashion community.

“Sustainability is going to be the new normal – in five to ten years it will be common practice across the industry,” Morglund said.

“That’s why it’s important to have these conversations now so we can figure out how to put processes in place to minimise harm in the future.”

The Assembly featured a panel discussion with industry leaders A. BCH fashion label founder Courtney Holm, independent designer Lois Hazel, Fibershed co-founder Nicki Colls, IFAB founding member Saskia Fairfull, and Teslin Doud from creative studio and consultancy The Threads.

Since graduating from RMIT, English and Morglund have been active in advocating for a sustainable fashion industry.

English was announced as one of the semi-finalists for the 2019 Redress Design Award, placing her among a group of ambitious young designers working to tackle the environmental challenges of the fashion industry.

Morglund has been working on a documentary about micro-materials and recycling and a podcast to spread awareness about eco practices and social health in the fashion industry.

Both graduates will to return to Copenhagen in May for the second part of the Youth Fashion Summit, to transform their demands into corporate action in collaboration with industry partners Global Fashion Agenda, Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, the United Nations Global Compact and Pandora.

 

Story: Jasmijn van Houten

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