Fashion and Sustainability Online Short Course image – Two people stand together with their arms intertwined. They are wearing light pink and purple feathered garments. The garments were designed by Elena Louka.

Fashion and Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World

Our Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) gives learners an introduction to sustainable fashion design, research, and business practice. Supported by luxury fashion group Kering. 

How can we make fashion more sustainable? Fashion is a global industry worth $2.4 trillion, employing around 50 million people, and is said to be one of the world’s most polluting industries. Fashion has the power to make positive change, re-imagining currently damaging systems. 

Fashion and Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World gives learners the opportunity to develop their skills in discussing the complex nature of sustainability through the introduction to materials sourcing for luxury fashion; informed decision making; and the creative realisation of ideas. Develop their own innovative approaches to fashion that can contribute to ecological resilience and thriving societies. Apply a new understanding of fashion and sustainability knowledge, and reflection, to their practice through manifesto creation and design thinking processes. Be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of key sustainability agendas, issues, and contexts associated with luxury fashion design, production, and consumption.

The MOOC 

The MOOC was developed in order to:  

  

  • Demonstrate leadership in the field of fashion and sustainability theory and practice.  

  • Enhance awareness and understanding of world-leading innovative sustainable fashion practices.  

  • Play a prominent role in education innovation by bringing together a university and industry partner to co-create online curriculum.  

  • Contribute to a landscape of change and inspire the next generation of creative leaders and responsible thinkers, contributing to a more sustainable fashion system.  

  • Create resources that can be used and repurposed by both partners in associated activities.   

  • Have an ethos of open-source and sharing of good practice.  

 

Through access to world-leading research and industry insights, and further explored through independent and group tasks over online learning platform FutureLearn, learners study a range of topics, including:  

  

Week 1 - Why Sustainability in Fashion?  

  

Week 2 - Contextualising Sustainability for a Changing World  

  

Week 3 - Material Dimensions: Sourcing for luxury fashion  

  

Week 4 - Informed Decision Making: Tools and methods  

  

Week 5 - Creative Possibilities  

  

Week 6 - Creative Realisation  

  

The MOOC visualises ways that fashion interacts with wider socio-political and cultural systems, within an ecological and equity context. By connecting their values with actions, learners find their own ways through complex and sometimes uncomfortable considerations in real-world terms.    

Project Objectives

The MOOC received a prestigious Green Gown award in 2018 as part of the Next Generation Learning and Skills category.   

 

To date, over 60,000 learners from 191 countries have explored key sustainability issues, agendas and contexts associated with luxury fashion on the MOOC.  

 

On average, learners have reported that: 

 

  • 96% – The course met or exceeded expectations   

  • 97% – Gained new knowledge or skills   

  • 70% – Have applied the learnings of the course  

  • 86% – Have shared the learnings of the course   

  • ‘This course has given me a framework to understand what is wrong, and how to fix it in a real, tangible way. I have recommended it to many of my friends who work in fashion, it is an incredible resource. While the problem is overwhelming, you have framed it in a way that makes it digestable, and makes it feel like we can tackle this problem if we face it.’ – Learner 
     

  • ‘Absolutely loved this course. I work as a design assistant to a small luxury fashion brand and explained I was doing this course at home to my boss. We then decided to complete it as a team and follow each step with the brand in mind. Invaluable information and really helped me to kick-start my thinking. I will recommend this to EVERYONE.’ – Learner  
     

  • ‘I'm not involved in the fashion industry, but interested in sustainability, with a deep love for textiles. I make textile items, some to wear, others to sell, but not clothes. I'm mostly a customer, and I try to choose clothes made by fashion houses with high ethical standards. This course has been fascinating, and I have reinforced my own ethical standards. Thank you!’ – Learner

Project Team

  • Dilys Williams, Director of CSF and Professor of Fashion Design for Sustainability 

  • Nina Stevenson, Education for Sustainability Leader at CSF 

  • Lou Budd, Education for Sustainability Project Coordinator at CSF 

Get involved

Contact for the project 

Lou Budd, Education for Sustainability Project Coordinator 

Email: l.budd@fashion.arts.ac.uk 

Funders

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