Fostering Sustainable Practices Hub

The Fostering Sustainable Practices project (FSP) investigates the creative practice in design-led fashion micro and small enterprises (MSEs) as a potential driver for change towards a more sustainable future for the fashion industry. 

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Policy Note: Support for Sustainable Prosperity

Our policy note draws on analysis of evidence from over 100 in-depth interviews with UK-based fashion MSEs and a range of support organisations. It is a means for discussion based on verifiable accounts of sustainability in action, demonstrating new possibilities for the fashion sector in the UK.

The vast majority of discourse on social and environmental prosperity in the fashion sector focuses on large scale industry, missing out on the importance, relevance and potential of MSEs to sustainable prosperity.

Read more on our policy work from our partner Prof. Fergus Lyon at CUSP.

FSP Case Studies

Phoebe English

Established in 2011, the namesake London based designer fashion label from Phoebe English, creates skills-led, often hand-crafted, carefully considered clothes.

 NUW

Peer-to-peer clothes sharing and swapping platform and app, NUW aims to increase the wear rate of garments by encouraging people to share their wardrobe with others.

 Elvis & Kresse

Luxury accessories from rescued materials; Elvis & Kresse is a social enterprise with B Corp certification who transform rescued fire hose into high-quality luxury bags.

 Bethany Williams

An artist and designer by education, Bethany Williams connects the worlds of fashion and social justice through her namesake label that uses fashion as a tool for social change.

 Birdsong

Birdsong is a feminist fashion brand founded in 2014, with the ambition to make fashion for women who expect more than a surface interest from their wardrobe.

 Away to Mars

Launched in 2014, Away to Mars works across two main areas of activity – a technology platform that enables online co-creation and a wholesale fashion brand.

 Sabinna

The conscious womenswear fashion label Sabinna explores female empowerment, transparency, love for the product and respect for the maker. 

Unmade

As a fashion ‘software-as-a-service' company, Unmade is driving innovation through customisation and small-batch production working with fashion and lifestyle brands.

 Petit Pli

Petit Pli is a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in design engineering, product design, fashion and print, sociology and neuroscience, business and e-commerce.

Finisterre

Finisterre was founded with the ambition to design and develop hardy British surf wear in the best and most sustainable way for those that share their passion for the sea.

Patternity

Founded as a means to connect people with nature, Patternity use patterns to communicate different ways of seeing, knowing, and reflecting on the world.

Raeburn

Known and celebrated for its strong ethos of sustainability-embedded practices, Raeburn is a responsible fashion brand who rework surplus fabric. 

The role of support organisations in the development of sustainable innovation in fashion MSEs

This panel discussion explores what is lacking and what more can be done to support fashion design and service-based entrepreneurs in embedding social, cultural, economic and environmental prosperity in their practice.

 

With an introduction to the FSP guidebook created for support organisations, Fashion as Sustainability in Action, a guide for fostering sustainable prosperity in micro and small fashion businesses.

Business models and networks of fashion-related MSEs

This panel discussion explored the business models and networks of fashion-related MSEs incorporating their vision of sustainable prosperity. 

 

Through the research findings of FSP, the panel explore how these visions might be scaled out to impact and transform the wider fashion industry. Discussing the formal and informal networks that fashion MSEs so often rely on to create and realise these alternative business models.

Visions, values, capabilities and the design practices of fashion designer-entrepreneurs

This panel discussion explored how design-led fashion MSEs create distinction and energy in their work when practising four dimensions of prosperity; social, cultural, economic, and environmental. Asking, is it the synergy or conflicting elements of these dimensions that make these fashion MSEs who they are?

 

The panel discusses the multiple roles and trajectories of these fashion designer entrepreneurs, their working time patterns and practices.

How do micro and small fashion businesses revolutionise fashion?

Prof. Sandy Black, Dr. Mila Burcikova and Zoe Norton from Centre for Sustainable Fashion were in conversation with researcher and acting course leader of MA Fashion Futures Katelyn Toth-Fejel as part of an online event in March 2021, for UAL Research Season.

The conversation focused on how micro and small fashion businesses are leading sustainability in fashion and included case study examples of designer fashion businesses who are revolutionising what fashion is and can be in the future.

The Pioneering Visions of Fashion’s MSEs

Prof. Sandy Black and Prof. Dilys Williams from Centre for Sustainable Fashion, and lead researchers on the Fostering Sustainable Practices project (FSP), are in conversation with researcher, author, Director, and Professor of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, Dr. Louise Valentine.

 

The discussion focused on the research and findings of a project that explores the values, visions, practices and capabilities of micro and small fashion businesses in the context of sustainability.

Blogs from FSP