'Sustainable Clothing Futures' symposium

Reversing the Destructive Effects of Fast Fashion

The devastating yet often unreported effect that “fast fashion” has on the natural environment will be exposed at a special symposium, held later this month.

Experts from the University of Exeter’s Environment & Sustainability Institute (ESI), will lead high-level discussions around the pivotal role both the fashion industry and consumers can play in reducing the throw-away culture that has developed around clothing.

While the rise in cheap, mass- produced High Street fashion had made stylish garments more readily available to consumers, it has also led to a more ‘disposable’ attitude towards clothing.

As a result, the “make-do and mend” attitude of previous generations has been replaced by “fast-fashion” - the term coined to describe the ability for consumers to buy inexpensive fashion items regularly, while discarding items sometimes after just a few wears.

This disposable approach has led to an increase in clothing being sent to landfill, with a recent ABC report suggesting 6,000kg of used clothing is produced every 10 minutes in Australia alone.

The symposium, called Sustainable Clothing Futures and which also features researchers from the University of Wolverhampton, textile practitioners and fashion campaigners, aims to tackle the issues of ‘fast fashion’ head on.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it will be held on January 20 at the Penryn Campus.

Professor Clare Saunders, lead researcher from the University of Exeter’s ESI said: “We’re all very excited about this project, which is topical, timely and ambitious. Symposium participants get the opportunity to listen to engaging speakers, learn about fabric and clothing manufacture, and sign up to a more extensive series of skills workshops to learn how to make, modify and repair clothing."

The symposium is part of a longer term project entitled ‘Designing a Sensibility for Sustainable Clothing’ that explores whether pro-environmental behaviour change can result from participation in skills-based ‘making’ workshops hosted by consultant experts and practitioners.

Project partner ‘Fashion Revolution’ will be contributing to the symposium and the broader project. Fashion Revolution is an international sustainable fashion organisation that campaigns for consumer and industry awareness to effect positive change.

If you would like to attend the symposium, please register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sustainable-clothing-futures-tickets-41383851213. Places are free but limited, so be sure to register quickly if you wish to attend.

Date: 9 January 2018

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