The Project

Introducing Fashion Ecologies

Fashion Ecologies is a research project led by Professor Kate Fletcher from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts London, UK.

The work received funding between 2016 and 2018 from the Research Council of Norway and formed part of a work package of the KRUS project headed by Professor Ingun Grimstad Klepp of Oslo Metropolitan University. The project’s research assistant was Lizzie Harrison.

The primary objective of KRUS is to increase the value creation from Norwegian wool and redefine sustainability practice in fashion through re-establishing the understanding of where clothes come from.

The aim of Fashion Ecologies is to develop new knowledge and practice around localism as a route to sustainability change in the fashion context. Localism was understood not as single items, like, say, iconic British pieces or traditional materials, but as a dynamic mix of resources and interactions in an area, the sum of what a place can offer.

Fashion Ecologies takes a systems approach. In a time when it is usual to try to understand things by taking them apart and thinking about parts of the system in isolation, Fashion Ecologies seeks to hold the whole. It explores fashion provision, activity and experience in context – in the places in which they happen – recognising that if the place changes, so do the challenges and also the actions for change. Fashion Ecologies works to keep things and insights about them radically together in order to better foster change in the real-world.

Foregoing received wisdom and nostalgic ideas about ‘local fashion’, the project sets out from ‘where we are’. It engages in close examination of a place, its surroundings and the social and material resources there as the gateway for engaging a changed future for fashion.

The fieldwork took place in Macclesfield, a town in the north of England as did five micro design projects. A comparative study is underway in Molde, on the west coast of Norway.