In 2008, for the first time in history, the global urban population outnumbered the rural population. This milestone marked the advent of a new 'urban millennium' and, by 2050, it is expected that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas. With more than half of humankind living in cities and the number of urban residents growing by nearly 73 million every year, it is estimated that urban areas account for 70% of the world's gross domestic product and has therefore generated economic growth and prosperity for many.
With the focus on economic development coming mostly from urban spaces, the creative and tech industry solutions are centred around our cities and towns, rather than rural areas. From the outset, the building of sustainable cities and communities feels unrelated to textiles and fashion - that's buildings and transport, and this is soft malleable things. However, it should be apparent to you, as someone working in these latter sectors, that the product supply chain knows no borders, with both rural and urban environments experiencing rapid growth and social inequalities in response to technological advancement and consumption.
The Sustainable Development Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities asks us to "make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable". So in this Masterclass, we look to understand how the textiles and fashion sector can implement solutions, change existing systems, and remodel business to create thriving economies.
In this Masterclass, we cover a wide range of topics that ordinarily you may not consider as integral to the manufacture and movement of materials and clothing: transport, the circular economy, women's rights and labour, and design innovation, all under the banner of holistic design theory and decarbonising our future, which fashion seriously needs to become active in.
In this Masterclass you will learn:
- Key terms coming to the fore for all sectors: Doughnut Economics, Degrowth, Decarbonisation and Planetary Boundaries
- Key challenges facing both urban and rural spaces across the globe, and how "social innovation" and "systems thinking" can establish positive economic and environmental change
- The nuances of circularity, and implementing a circular economy for fashion in reference to sustainable cities, including how to utilise "waste"
- Advice for designers looking to engage issues in social inequality, including building a social enterprise, implementing a social change project, or establishing a community business
- Key design theories: design nudges, speculative design and systems thinking and how they can support your research and development into sustainable solutions and business model
- Sustainable solutions to carbon-intensive urban logistics, and the importance of establishing green spaces for health and environment
- Issues facing marginalised communities with existing political systems, and how fashion can advocate for change
- About the lifecycle of clothes, and advice on decision-making for designers
- How to realise local textile economies and the power of understanding textile production systems
How Community Businesses Can Save The High Streetwith Polly Swann
Polly Swann, co-author of the Power To Change working report, "Saving The High Street: The Community Takeover" joined us to explain further on what a community business is, how they can help shape a regenerative high street, and how to work with the local authorities and organisations around you to make an impact that will benefit local residents, and those visiting from outside.
As a fashion or creative business, is working on a community model for your local area more in your interests than being an outright social enterprise?
Innovative Business Through Textile Re-Use In The Backyard Garment Sectorwith Maveen Pereira
Traidcraft Exchange's research, funded with the help of TRAID, into the informal garment industry in Bangladesh offers an insightful vision of the potential to reduce textile waste and increase creative income for local entrepreneurs in a country where the global ready-made garment sector dominates the economy. In this Lesson, you'll learn more about the backyard garment industry in Bangladesh.
This is a segment cut from a full interview with Maveen Pereira, Director of Programmes at Traidcraft Exchange.
Building Sustainable Cities And Communities With Holistic Circular Designwith Charlie Palmer
This is a 20 minute lesson from the founder of Incremental Urbanism, a community development and design workshop that partners with under-resourced communities and engaged clients to activate the unrealised potential in their neighbourhoods and cities. Charlie Palmer brings to light the challenges facing both urban and rural spaces globally, and how a holistic and circular approach to design can help to bring sustainable solutions to the fore, and ultimately ease social inequality. Charlie instils wisdom from his experience in architecture and international development to encourage you - as someone in the fashion and textile sphere - to consider how integral all sectors are to the innovation of one another.
Utilising Zero Emission Urban Logistics For Healthy Cities And Sustainable Businesswith Sam Keam
This 23 minute Lesson from Zedify, a zero emission delivery operator in the UK, will assist in your understanding of how urban logistics work in practice. Sam Keam, a co-founder of Zedify will take you through explanations of terms like 'last mile delivery', what circularity looks like for packaging, how the pandemic and rapid shift in e-tailing has affected consumer habit, and what you can implement to reduce overall supply chain and garment production emissions.
Sam instils insight into how using a low or zero emission logistic network will aid in your building of a sustainable business, for example, by establishing personal connections with your customers and helping to relieve your environment of congestion and pollution. No matter what size business you are, or where you are in your journey, this is potentially the future of fashion e-commerce and so it will pay to apprehend the solution early on.
Developing A Social Enterprise Or Social Change Projectwith Francesco Mazzarella
A 25 minute Lesson from Dr Francesco Mazzarella, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Design for Social Change at the Centre For Sustainable Fashion, where he brings to life the year-long Making For Change: Waltham Forest social project led in partnership with London College of Fashion and London Borough of Waltham Forest.
Here Francesco explains the project's goals and outcomes, and outlines advice that will help you build your own social change project or even social enterprise. He helps you recognise where community engagement, social innovation and design for social change meet in order that you can build a business supportive of long-lasting legacy across cities and communities.
Note, any takeaways from Francesco not in regards to the Making For Change: Waltham Forest project are his own perspective and advice, rather than necessarily that of Centre For Sustainable Fashion.
Using Your Fashion Business As A Mouthpiece In Fighting For Women's Rightswith Women In Prison
A 31 minute lesson from the women's advocacy organisation Women In Prison, to support in your understanding of what the criminal justice system looks like for women, and how your fashion brand can sensitively become a mouthpiece for the issues surrounding women in prison.
Kate Fraser is the Northern Development Manager for Women In Prison, a national UK charity that is centred on women's experiences and advocacy for radical change in the criminal justice system. Purdy Sutcliffe is a Project Worker for WomenMatta, a Manchester-based women's centre that provides intense, holistic support to women affected by the criminal justice system and to those at risk.
In this Lesson, hear what the issues are within the criminal justice system specifically for women, and why support before, during and after is crucial to reducing unnecessary convictions and future additional trauma to those imprisoned and their families. From the outset this does not shout out "fashion business", but we also explore thoughts and facts on prison labour, employment in prison, and what steps you can take as a fashion entrepreneur to raise awareness and compassionately advocate for women's rights everywhere.
Using Speculative Design In Your Business To Activate Holistic Systems Changewith Dian-Jen Lin
This 33 minute Lesson from the Co-Founder of transdisciplinary design research lab and consultancy, Post Carbon Lab, will address notions of design theory that you may have heard of, though not had the chance to put into practice. Dian-Jen Lin (or DJ), is both a designer and researcher with a background in fashion, who started developing a microbial dye and photosynthetic coating that could be used commercially. Starting with the question of "how can fashion be ecological", this biohacking consultancy have been able to apply speculative R&D to this thinking, and enable projects to come to life that nudge consumer habit into also asking these bigger, holistic questions.
Without being in the academic space, often these questions about design theory feel irrelevant. You're just a designer, right? Jump into this lesson to appreciate how integral it is for you and your business to recognise the role it can play in activating systemic change within fashion and other sectors. You will also hear about the really cool microbial dyes and photosynthetic coating.