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Fashioning The Future

Provoking curiosity, to encourage students and graduates to explore radical sustainability ideas through a platform that recognised emerging thinkers, doers, designers and innovators. 

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Established in 2008, Fashioning the Future aimed to inspire curiosity, encourage the testing of ideas and create a platform for emerging thinkers, doers, designers and innovators. It facilitated interactions between people in education and business, steering a course towards a better future. 

The Fashioning the Future Awards were conceived as a means for CSF to share and exchange knowledge, skills and experience with others. We’ve connected over 3000 students from a host of fashion institutions worldwide with global businesses and NGOs. Resources, developed from our expertise, act as a guide to participants and outcomes are showcased through exhibition, catwalk and digital mediums. 


Building on a methodology developed by Professor Dilys Williams to engage designers in active participation, empathy and collaboration, Fashioning the Future evolved into an immersive summer school. The summer school engaged students and tutors from leading fashion institutions across Europe. 


Fashioning the Future was based around  Habit(AT) a research project that explores the possibilities for fashion to contribute to resilience in an increasingly urbanized world. Participants worked to a brief developed and supported by industry partners, focusing on building innovative ideas into relevant concepts and prototypes. 

Project Outcomes

2008 - 2011 – Fashioning the Future Awards 


2008 - 2009 – New Definitions of Luxury 

Categories include Enterprise and Communication, the Role of Materials in Fashion, Systems for a Sustainable Fashion Industry and Design in a Thriving World.  Finalists were selected to take part in catwalk show as part of a CSF global Summit exploring new definitions of luxury. 


2009 - 2010 – Water: The Right for All Citizens of this Planet

Finalist’s work was featured in an exhibition, held in the LCF Fashion Space and at City Hall, as part of Professor Frances Corner’s role as a London Leader. 


2010 - 2011 – Unique: Honouring Biodiversity 

As part of the decade of biodiversity and partnering with UNCTAD, finalists were selected to be featured in an experimental multimedia exhibition and catwalk show supported by Canary Wharf and held in the imposing East Winter Gardens. 


January, 2013 – Fashioning the Future Summer School 

9 partner institutions sign up to be part of the first Fashioning the Future Summer School. The participating universities include: 


June, 2013 – City Maps 

Selected participants captured images of their home cities and embark upon daily tasks under identified themes of seeing, knowing and doing. Each participant documented their daily experiences, creating a personal map of their city and sharing their reflections through a blog.


July, 2013 – The Brief 

Participants were asked to consider some of the world’s fastest growing cites and the environmental challenges and opportunities of urban cultures. Working in inter-disciplinary groups, they were challenged to imagine London in 2025 and to use fashion as the starting point for developing a ‘City Survival Pack’. Over the course of the incubator, students worked with researchers and tutors from CSF, European partner universities, Forum for the Future and the Sustainable Angle to support the ideation and prototyping process. 


July, 2013 – Nike Making App Challenge 

Participants were invited to the launch of Nike’s Making App and were briefed by CSF and Nike on the 2025 London Making App Challenge. Working in their groups with guidance from either a member of CSF or the Nike design team, they explored and use the newly launched Making App. Their challenge was to redesign a single item from ‘the urban uniform’ based on the needs of the wearer in London 2025. Outcomes were presented to Nike’s Sustainable Business Innovation team. 


July, 2013 – Final Concepts 

Each team presented their City Survival Pack Concept and Prototypes to a panel from academia and industry as well as their peers and other guests.  Successful students received a Fashioning the Future diploma and research from the summer school is collated as part of the Habit(AT) project. 

Project Team

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

  • Nina Stevenson, Education for Sustainability Leader, Centre for Sustainable Fashion

  • Rob Phillips, Creative Director: School of Design & Technology, London College of Fashion, UAL

  • Cara Lee Roth

Contact for the project 

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



Nina Stevenson, Education for Sustainability Leader



  • The project was part funded by the Eurpoean Union’s Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme, enabling participants to take part in an immersive incubator, located in London, with insights from across Europe. 

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