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5 Minutes with Kate Fletcher

Sustainable Fashion and Textiles

"I'm not sure I can ever remember not being engaged with fashion nor sustainability. Growing up in a family of community activists in inner city Liverpool in the bleak years of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, it was impossible to avoid direct experience of the necessity of change. As was (for me at any rate), the practice of making clothes."

1.      What can we look forward to in this new edition of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles?

Fully updated content, new content, and finessed original ideas which have shown they are still as defining today as they were a half dozen years ago when the first edition was launched! And, of course, a very beautiful new cover!

2.      How does this book differ from others in its field?

The book takes a holistic view which connects design, fashion, ecosystems and cultural systems, materials and the challenge of consumption. It uses design thinking to navigate through this territory and both offers solutions and reframes questions about what fashion is and might be in a sustainability future.

3.      What sparked your particular interest in fashion and sustainability?

I'm not sure I can ever remember not being engaged with fashion nor sustainability. Growing up in a family of community activists in inner city Liverpool in the bleak years of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, it was impossible to avoid direct experience of the necessity of change. As was (for me at any rate), the practice of making clothes. Money was tight. Fabric relatively cheap. Skills, knowledge and the expectation that making and mending is normal, in surfeit. Perhaps it was this very particular philosophical and practical schooling which has primed me to ‘adventure’ in my work, an explorer’s determination to engage and extend fashion (so oftentimes part of the problem of unsustainability) in the light of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, growing levels of resource consumption

4.      Can you offer some guidelines for someone interested in sustainable design?

To journey with an open and creative heart between and within material, social and cultural phenomena.

5.      What are some of the controversies that surround the sustainable fashion and textile industries today?

Oh where to begin?! That such change is necessary for the fashion industry is old news. Fashion is readily characterized as the poster-industry of consumerist materialism; as frivolous, superficial and evanescent; a sector that delivers change without development. It is shaped by the superfluity of mass production and unlimited consumption; an industry linked to abysmal abuses of workers’ rights, resource intensive and polluting supply chains, waste generation, ideas predicated on the image, on status competition and ownership. And yet it is also a space at the heart of contemporary culture, and one that fuses provision of livelihoods, creative expression, social processes, fundamental human needs and personal pleasure...