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  • Lou Budd

What if we worked together to achieve the pace and scale of change that society needs from fashion?

“If today we can think about equity, being able to live well together and how we do that through fashion, then we’ve done something really powerful.”

- Dilys Williams, Founder and Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion

The Fashion Values Challenge Brief is a global call-out for transformational ideas and innovations across the fields of design, media and/or technology.

Open to all, this Challenge asks applicants to respond to a central question: “how can fashion value society?”

The Challenge calls for applicants to demonstrate how their idea will help to shift the fashion industry towards a future grounded in human and planetary health: one that contributes to social justice rather than perpetuating injustices for people and nature.

So, how can our ideas contribute to a fundamental shift from a fashion system that is socially unjust and negligent, to one that is grounded on values of care, empathy, equality, collaboration, and creativity?

Ahead of opening for Challenge submissions, we convened partners, SMEs, and students across fashion design, media and technology for the Fashion Values Society Hack event.

Our aim for the day was to facilitate a space for students to connect with industry, and to develop creative responses to the urgent times we find ourselves in, through the Fashion Values Challenge.

The event provided an opportunity for participants from fashion education and emerging design and industry practice to come together and catalyse ideas, through practice-based exploration, co-creation and creative prototyping.

Through two industry panel discussions, and a BODYPOLITIC workshop run by our friends at Extinction Rebellion, we worked together to encourage and facilitate a movement for positive resistance, empowering the group to collaboratively find alternative activities and behaviours in response to the Challenge’s central question: “how can fashion value society?”

“The event brought together people from very different backgrounds, and it was very exciting to hear about their ideas and questions for each other. The event was full of practical and useful insights, and it was truly interesting to see different perspectives.”

- UAL Student

“This was such an exciting and inspiring day! I particularly loved hearing from the panels about the future of sustainability and what I can do as an emerging designer building my ethos. Huge thank you!”

– UAL Student

Over the course of the event, wesaw the bringing together of a wide range of different voices and perspectives, joined around a common sense of purpose and ambition to effect social change in and through fashion.

“The afternoon’s workshop was super exciting. We had time to grow our networking and at the same time we had some fun with the guests from Extinction Rebellion, and I’ve enjoyed every single moment. As a result of the workshop, I have recycled a jumper with words such as ‘frugality’, ‘humanity’, ‘Queer’ and when I wear it, some people approach me on the street and ask me about the meaning of the message on it, it is good to share.”

– UAL Student

Throughout the day we were able to cultivate a safe space for all to communicate with one another, through more than talking and words, using making skills and resources to bring ideas and feelings into the 3D and visual realm.

End of the day reflections left the group feeling emboldened to be working in a radical space and empowered by the power of collaboration and co-design.

“I will be applying to the Fashion Values Challenge as this day has helped expand my understanding of the industry and what steps there are still to take.”

- UAL Student

Following the Hack event, we hope that Challenge applicants are encouraged to think about who in society, not just fashion, they serve and represent, and where the collaboration spaces to make this happen could be.

When planning an application to the Challenge, you might want to watch the films from the day, including a short overview, plus panel discussions with industry experts and emerging businesses.

There are many resources available to support your application, including those hosted on the Fashion Values platform, as well as our Fashion Values open-access online courses on FutureLearn.

Make sure to follow Fashion Values on Instagram for updates. Good luck!


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