What and how to teach fashion

As a tutor, considering what to teach is often the first step when designing or updating curriculum.  FashionSEEDS takes a holistic and expansive approach, offering resources to inform what we teach and tools to consider the design of how we teach. To recognise the complexity of fashion through the lens of sustainability, FashionSEEDS uses 4 pillars to define fashion’s intentions and impacts when designing products, services and systems. These pillars help us focus when considering what we teach (e.g., knowledge, data, practice) and how we teach (e.g., pedagogy, learning design, environment).  

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Fashion Design for Sustainability:  
Resources for Tutors

 
The changing role of fashion education

Education is the leverage point for change in societies, cultures and economies, and in a time of climate emergency, individual and systemic change in fashion is needed now more than ever. As fashion tutors we have the opportunity and responsibility to be changemakers; to nurture the knowledge, skills and competencies that both challenge the damaging practices of the existing fashion system and design new systems that restore nature and equity.  

 

​FashionSEEDS offers a set of tools and resources to help us consider what to teach, how to teach, and how far we can change or transform our teaching through the discipline of Fashion Design for Sustainability.  

Pillars of Sustainability

The premise of FashionSEEDS is that every part of fashion comes from nature. Its resources enable the creation of activities, garments, accessories, images and other elements that together make up a distinctive part of our identities as humans. A core understanding of the limits of nature’s systems and recognition of human equity create a foundational understanding upon which environmental, social, cultural and economic pillars are built. 

 

The following short descriptions of the four pillars of sustainability have been applied to workshop content and course, curriculum and learning design throughout the FashionSEEDS development process.

CULTURAL
SUSTAINABILITY

Cultural sustainability refers to tolerant systems that recognise and cultivate diversity. This includes diversity in the fashion and sustainability discourse to reflect a range of communities, locations and belief systems. It includes the use of various strategies to preserve First Nations cultural heritage, beliefs, practices and histories. It seeks to safeguard the existence of these communities in ways that honour their integrity. 

SOCIAL 
SUSTAINABILITY

Social sustainability refers to the ability of a community to interact and collaborate in ways that create and exemplify social cohesion. It considers places, communities and organisations, formal and informal, and their resources, opportunities and challenges. It involves the agency of diverse participants in voicing and acting with autonomy and in harmony with others. 

ECONOMIC
SUSTAINABILITY

Economic sustainability refers to the ability of citizens to enjoy living conditions that are within agreed boundaries in terms of wage levels relative to costs of living and the gap between lowest and highest wages. It refers to regional and inter-regional access to investment and to a healthy relationship between productivity, employment and economic status. 

ENVIRONMENTAL
SUSTAINABILITY

Environmental sustainability refers to our ability to live within biosphere limits, recognising planetary boundaries (Rockström et al., 2009).  
It draws on ecological principles and various practices that recognise people as part of nature and looks for ways to preserve the quality of the natural world on a long-term basis.