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  • Constance Jeffreys

How can fashion value Society?

illustration of group of people

Fashion and society are interlinked and entangled, both reflecting and influencing one another — and in turn changing and evolving our relationship with the world. In the places where society and fashion meet, there’s not always a positive outcome. In fashion’s current state of over production and fast turnaround, we have seen a damaging effect on society, particularly on those most vulnerable. This is most apparent in the supply chain where people’s safety is often overlooked for profit. This is the root cause of devastating catastrophes such as Rana Plaza, where a clothing factory collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013, killing 1,134 people.

The global outcry from this catastrophe sparked activism within fashion across the world and saw the launch of Fashion Revolution. This not-for-profit global movement fights for the fair treatment and wages of those producing our clothes, and encourages consumers to ask brands ‘Who Made My Clothes’. This is just one example of how fashion and society are consistently reacting to and with each other on a global scale. The Rana Plaza disaster shows plainly fashion’s hand in creating social injustice within its supply chain and our ability as consumers and industry professionals to counter act it.

As part of our ongoing partnership with Kering, IBM and Vogue Business on Fashion Values, we are proud to be launching the 2022 Fashion Values Challenge. This is a global call out for change-making products, services and systems, offering the chance to win a 6-month support programme to develop the idea further.

Fashion Values is a free and open-access sustainability education platform complete with industry webinars, articles and learning resources to inform and inspire both students and industry professionals. In 2022, the Fashion Values programme focus is the relationship between fashion and society. We provide the tools and support for students and industry professionals as they push for change and look to create systems for prosperity within our society.

“If we think about intersectionality and intergenerational access to being, we need to consider not only the effects on people in other places right now, but also the effects of what we’re doing now for future societies. Ultimately, we need to both decolonize and decarbonize" – Prof. Dilys Williams

As an industry, we need to create a more harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between fashion and society. We can use fashion as a tool to create value and rebuild damaged parts of society and the environment, instead of increasing social inequalities.

Our challenge, therefore, is to successfully address the social and environmental issues within fashion. To do this we are inviting designers, innovators and storytellers to propose new ideas for how fashion can value society within design, technology and/ or media. We want you to address ideas around equality, equity, diversity and inclusion in order to rebalance the scales of power and redirect the flow of resources, value and wealth.

More information on the Fashion Values Challenge

The 2022 Fashion Values Challenge asks for responses to the question – How can Fashion value Society? It’s a search for change-making products, services and systems. Open to both students and industry professionals, this an opportunity for wherever you’re at in your innovator journey.

With the chance to win a 6-month support programme – where you’ll meet advisors from the Fashion Values network including Kering, Vogue Business and IBM, and be supported in developing your idea further.

With tailored applications available for both students and industry professionals – our industry panel will select six finalists, three students and three industry professional submissions. Two winners will then be selected, one from each category.


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