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  • Prof. Dilys Williams

How we are shaping the future – through our fashion habits and aspirations

Relationships are the subject of much debate at Centre for Sustainable Fashion; those that we have with each other and with nature. Fashion, as we know, exemplifies these relationships in vivid forms. What and how we wear and care for our attire, attests to a sometimes connected, but often disconnected sense of our interdependencies in the world. Over the past few weeks, and until 21 July, we have been taking discussions that we first developed in the Fashioned from Nature exhibition curated by Edwina Erhman at the V&A Museum, for which we acted as special advisors to the gallery space of the newly established Arbeit Studios Leyton Green. Where the installations Fashion Now/Fashion Futures 2030 are creating a great deal of interest from those passing by as well as those who are making the location a destination.

We’ve been creating new personal relationships in Leyton too, through our part in the Making for Change: Waltham Forest project, where CSF members Francesco Mazzarella, Camilla Palestra and Mina Jugovic have been working with others across LCF and at Waltham Forest Council, inside and outside of the exhibition space. As we reach the final week of the exhibition there, we want to remind those who haven’t yet visited us there to do so. We are continuing to gather responses to our future scenarios’ questions, so please come and have your say, to see the kind of future that our fashion aspirations are shaping.

The exhibition explores our current fashion practices through five ubiquitous pieces, familiar to us all, revealing their unseen dimensions and facets. These objects represent fashion from a range of cultural, economic and social perspectives. They exemplify a range of enduring and season specific styles, materials, design and production techniques, modes of sale, service and expected lifetimes. They demonstrate a range of approaches to fashion design, manufacture, acquisition, care and end of (first) life.

The exhibition goes on to explore how we are shaping the future – through our fashion habits and aspirations. Through using speculative design techniques, we conceived and developed four alternative visions of fashion and nature in 2030, four imagined futures – informed by realities. We developed these visions into text-based stories and film. Drawing on research and observations of nature, culture, economy, society and technology in 2018, we can speculate on what sustainability-led fashion might look like in 2030. We invite visitors to respond to questions about how they would like fashion to be created, bought and sold in 2030. Through the responses, we start to see where we are heading.

a tshirt hanging in an exhibition space at Fashion Now Fashion Futures 2030
Image: Guillaume Valli

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