Regenerative Fashion Practices to End Hunger

with our industry experts

In the second of our Masterclasses addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we concentrate on SDG Goal 2: Zero Hunger and how to apply its principles to your fashion business or brand. 

Prior to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic being felt across the world, food insecurity was already on the rise. In 2018, 25.9% of the world’s population was affected by moderate or severe food insecurity. Small-scale producers, who comprise 40-85% of all food producers in developing regions, have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Increasingly, fashion designers and businesses are being alerted to the connection between our global food sources and fashion and textile production, and how the latter has negatively impacted the former with a general lack of concern for provenance and environmentally friendly practices. Regenerative agriculture is no longer the sole concern of organic farmers, yet is a topic of discussion in major fashion forums. Soil health, intercropping and biodiversity are issues that now must inform more positive choices in producing and consuming fashion. 

In this Masterclass, we speak to a range of experts to learn about fashion’s impact on food sources, crop health, farming communities and local processing plants, alternative regenerative fibres for fashion fabrics, and the ways designers can support regenerative agriculture practices and a traceable leather industry. 

In this Masterclass you will learn:


  • Why Is Genome Editing And GMOs Bad For Business?

    with Stephanie Steele
    Summary

    Key targets of the Sustainable Development Goal #2 Zero Hunger are to end hunger, promote sustainable agriculture, achieve food security and improve nutrition. In all ways, GM - or genetically modified - crops affects the land we grow our crops on, and the livelihoods of the farmers who grow them, to the nutrition in the food we eat, and the impact on our bodies and other wildlife. The impact of genetic modification, or new technology gene editing, goes way beyond just the food we see in front of us, but an entire system that is governed as a monopoly by chemical companies, and the man-made effects on water, soil, air and animals.

    In this lesson we dive in to what GM is, and to give you guidance on how you can use the knowledge within your practice.

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  • How Textiles Can Increase Sustainable Food Production

    with Joelcio Carvalho
    Summary

    The Beyond Cotton Project is a joint initiative of the World Food Programme's Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Brazil and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency. Hear how the project's organisers view cotton as a key tool to support food security and local development, and their strategies for empowering farmers.  

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  • Growing Flax For A Resilient Food And Fibre Industry

    with Simon Cooper
    Summary

    Simon Cooper, co-owner of Flaxland in the Cotswolds, UK and farmer of linseed and flax, explains what the benefits of growing flax are for the purposes of increasing resilience, building biodiversity and nourishing both soil health and our health. 

    Simon also works wood and is crafty with materials and uses his skills and knowledge to create composite fibre canoes out of his own fibre and oil. He and his wife Ann conduct workshops to increase awareness around the flax cottage industry, from growing to weaving, and the additional products you can get from this magnificent heritage crop.

    Thumbnail image: Ian Paterson on www.wildflowerfinder.org.uk

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  • Leather Production Misconceptions, Traceability and Alternatives

    with Kerry Senior
    Summary

    Busting popular myths about the environmental and ethical issues surrounding leather, Kerry Senior, Director of Leather UK, the trade association for the UK’s leather industry, presents some surprising facts behind this much-misunderstood material.

    This Lesson covers leather’s origins as a byproduct, its inherent connection to the agricultural sector, methane emissions and how leather stacks up against synthetic alternatives – everything a designer or business needs to know to make informed choices about their materials.

    Head to part two of this conversation where we dive deeper into the topic and learn about chrome-tanning and exotic leathers.

    Thumbnail image: DEFRA

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  • The Role Of Education In Connecting Food With Fashion

    with Arantza Vilas
    Summary

    Textile artist and designer Arantza Vilas, founder of Pinaki Studios, introduces the ways in which she connects food with textiles through utilising food waste, collaborating with chefs, and experimenting with materials. The role of education - both via means of research and play - comes to the fore as Arantza explains her background. 

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  • Indigenous Food Systems And Land Justice

    with Stephanie Steele
    Summary

    As all of our fibres come from the land - whether natural or synthetic - it is integral to understand and acknowledge the remarkable value within every single thread woven or knitted into the clothing we wear. Fibre systems are tied within food systems, and as a designer and business owner, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on where your materials come from, who produced them for you, and whether there is disparity in the basic human rights of those involved.

    There are major discrepancies in the land rights of indigenous peoples who fight against big corporations for what is rightfully their common property, and inequalities in land access across the world due to race, gender and caste. Wherever you look within your supply chain - even if you only operate digitally - there is a requirement of land to allow business to run, for products to be made, for people to survive.

    So what do you as an entrepreneur need to know in order to ensure you are supporting land justice, and therefore ensuring a future for incoming generations? Where do you look to educate yourself on seemingly new terminologies like "environmental justice", "intersectional environmentalism", "biodiversity", and "indigenous food systems"? In this lesson, we pull together resources that will get you started on understanding this topic and how it relates to fashion and textiles.

    Thumbnail image: iStock

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  • Regenerative Organic Textiles And Food

    with Elizabeth Whitlow
    Summary

    The way we cultivate our land results in wide-reaching impacts on our environment and society. Improved soil health means less habitat desctruction, less exploitation, freedom from toxic chemicals and less factory farming.

    These factors relate both to food production and textile fibre production and in this Lesson we learn how the two come together in the pioneering work of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA) which counts Patagonia as one of its founding members. Executive Director of the ROA Elizabeth Whitlow, joins us to discuss the ROA's revolutionary new certification for farmers and why it matters to fashion businesses. 

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Interviews


Technical Tutorials


Past Events


Follow On Masterclasses:

Demystifying Cotton Fibres

Ethical Fabrics And Why We Need To Use Them

Understanding Responsible Wool Production


Additional Reading