This year the release of a new edited book from Kate Fletcher and Mathilda Tham on sustainable fashion has added a much needed critical reflection on where we are now on our journey through fashion towards a more sustainable and resilient future and what leading thinkers see as the future research agenda in this sphere. The Routledge Handbook of Fashion and Sustainability brings together over 30 voices from across the fashion and textiles sector working around the world as designers, academics and researchers and I was honoured to be included. All of the contributors were challenged to imagine from their unique and multidisciplinary viewpoint how fashion might be aligned with sustainability and what the complexities of this might be. Working individually and within our writing groups we started to move beyond describing what is happening with our individual specialisms to start exploring what the critical research that is required to develop our understanding of fashion and sustainability.
My contribution is called Fashion and Community and draws on nearly a decade of work in this field including running Antiform, ReMade in Leeds and the Leeds Community Clothes Exchange. The chapter explores the boundaries of community development and fashion design looking at how communities might connect with and through fashion to create a more resilient future. The piece draws on the grassroots initiatives pioneering in this space including Antiform which is presented as a case study.
Other stand out chapters in the book include contributions from other active designers and researchers such as Amy Twigger Holroyd the founder of Keep and Share (keepandshare.co.uk) who has written a chapter on Openness, Jonnet Middleton’s of Mend*rs (mendrs.net) chapter on Mending and Liz Parker’s chapter on Workers Rights.
Please do share your thoughts on the book with us, I really hope you find it as inspiring to read as it has been being part of writing it.