World 21

In World 21, many have embarked on redesigning little parts of the system and the apparel industry no longer sees textile off-cuts as waste. This world has found intelligent ways to separate fibres into their virgin materials again, and attained an increase in fibre recycling.

By collaborating with other sectors, such as the paper industry, it is now possible to minimise textile waste and create non-woven materials with new uses. A higher material understanding was gained through including waste management practices in the educational system. Having found the definite end of life point of a garment, accomplished a better use of the materials characteristics before it can biodegrade, without having concerns for further harming the environment.

What if …

textiles could learn from paper?

Issue targeted:

Textile waste is a known problem of the apparel industry. This fiction in particular targets the off-cuts and threads (pre-consumer waste), that often go right into a waste stream and are either piling up on landfill or get burned. Being identified as ‘waste’ often leaves not much room for imagining other opportunities.

Inspiration:

In times where textiles were rare goods, material was used for a long time, saving as much resources as possible. With industrialisation, the industry was able to produce faster and materials were wasted with less consideration. The art of papermaking inspired me to make use of already wasted resources. To facilitate a true, sustainable change, I am convinced that redesigning a small part of our out-dated system could potentially inspire bigger change within the apparel industry and beyond.

This World was contributed by Julia Siegler (located in Germany) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

World 20

Imagine a world – World 20 – where tanneries were considered against the law. What if we stopped manufacturing animal skin and focused on cruelty-free leather? What if we trained the traditional tanners to work on these leather alternatives? We would assign penalty points to anyone manufacturing or selling animal leather.

Tanneries would become museums where future fashion students could learn from the mistakes done in the past. Wearing animal leather would not be prohibited, as there is already so much of it in the world. But designers and creatives would be able to recycle the existing leather instead of buying a new one.

What if …

tanneries were considered against the law?

Issue targeted:

There so many issues but the one I’d like to raise is in relation to post-consumer waste: the process of tanning stabilizes the collagen or protein fibers in the skins so that they actually stop biodegrading instead of rotting in your closet.

Inspiration:

I don’t think a world without leather ever existed. But we did it differently before fast fashion. And we did not develop all the new fibers that will replace animal leather.

This World was contributed by Elljo (located in Washington D.C., USA) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

World 19

The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus in World 19 succeeded in dismantling capitalism more efficiently than any environmental activist could have dreamed.

The purpose of the fashion ‘season’ is turned on its head. Fashion ‘capital’ is driven by collectives exploring sensitive ways to promote the health of insects, rivers, weather. Communities compete to demonstrate imaginative responses to seasonal knowledge through clothing intimately connected to the requirements of the other-than-human. Success is judged by the way knowledge is shared and embodied, habitats are ameliorated and harmful practices replaced.

Fashion producers unanimously adopt the environmental Hippocratic oath – “first do no harm”. Climate summit goals are strengthened – and met.

What if …

the fashion ‘season’ had a completely different meaning?

Issue targeted:

attitudes towards the environment as resource; addressing cultural causes of environmental degradation

Inspiration:

Lynn Margulis, Extinction Rebellion, Donna Haraway; early Japanese nature-culture (Heian period and ‘mono no aware’)

This World was contributed by Katherine Pogson (located in London (Finsbury Park), UK) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

World 18

I was living in India then, having travelled across the globe, a lot of Indians were in the habit of not reusing their clothes. They would wear a garment for 3-4 times and it would sit in their cupboard, lying unattended.

But then came the World 18 pandemic in 2010, it took millions of lives and put an end to travel and commerce. People were stranded in their villages. Cities began to perish, because no one grew food or wove the fabrics. People migrated to villages, in search of greenery, food and clothing. But some were left in the cities, with the huge amount of clothes from the past. They used those to create sustainable items of clothing, which were wearable, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. The other lot who migrated to the villages, had new material to weave and dye, which was nature friendly. They used these to create a design collection.

What if …

we lived in farms and had animals around us who would recognise the smell of our clothes; we grew our own cotton and did everything on our own?

Issue targeted:

fast fashion and huge landfills with fashion waste including clothing and home furnishings etc.

Inspiration:

ancient Indian history

This World was contributed by Dr Toolika Gupta (located in Jaipur, India) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

World 17

The paper-pattern craze of the 2010s took everyone in World 17 by surprise – part of a resurgence in making responding to the alienating, screen-bound nature of IT, and the shock of the credit-crunch. By 2015, major fashion brands offered vectorised patterns of popular styles alongside their now dwindling stock, while council-run sewing workshops on the high street replaced abandoned emporia.

Most surprising was the enthusiastic embrace of sewing by young men, who thronged to overlockers to make up fanciful, belogoed sportswear-inspired confections and to repair sought-after vintage styles. Haberdashers and drapers, having catered to a mostly female consumer, discovered a hitherto ignored clientèle.

What if …

young men became obsessed with sewing?

Issue targeted:

the gendered nature of sustainability discourses

Inspiration:

my students

This World was contributed by Jay McCauley Bowstead (located in London, UK) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

Call for fashion and sustainability researchers

Fashion Fictions brings people together to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems. The aim is to understand how radically sustainable fashion cultures and systems might be imagined and experienced, and discover which historical or contemporary real-world examples we can draw on in the process of exploring them.

The project has a three-stage structure, with Stage 1 inviting people to submit concise written outlines of parallel worlds in which invented historical junctures have led to familiar-yet-strange sustainable fashion cultures and systems. At Stage 2’s prototyping workshops, diverse groups of participants will add complexity to a selection of these fictions, while in Stage 3’s ‘everyday dress’ projects, participants will performatively enact the prototyped cultures and systems.

As described on the website’s Participate page, I am seeking people with diverse expertise to take part – including academic fashion and sustainability researchers, who are the focus of this call.

Interested? Participation could involve:

Please express interest by emailing Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd, Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability at Nottingham Trent University: amy-twigger.holroyd@ntu.ac.uk

I look forward to hearing from you!

Call for expressions of interest to run affiliated education projects

Fashion Fictions brings people together to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems. The aim is to understand how radically sustainable fashion cultures and systems might be imagined and experienced, and discover which historical or contemporary real-world examples we can draw on in the process of exploring them.

The project has a three-stage structure:

  • Stage 1: Creating 100-word outlines of fictional fashion cultures and systems
  • Stage 2: Developing the Stage 1 sketches through the creation of visual and material prototypes
  • Stage 3: Enacting and experiencing the worlds prototyped at Stage 2 via ‘everyday dress’ projects

I am inviting academics at higher education institutions to devise and run Fashion Fictions projects with undergraduate or postgraduate students (e.g. fashion/textiles, fashion communication, design) in order to diversify contributions to the central Fashion Fictions project and provide an opportunity for students to engage with this international fashion and sustainability initiative. 

The format for these education projects is very flexible: they could incorporate any of the three stages or a combination, and could vary in duration from a short one-off workshop to an extended project.

The educator(s) will plan and deliver the project, drawing on the Fashion Fictions framework, in a way that fits into their curriculum, timetable, learning outcomes, student needs and so on. I will provide support for all projects and showcase work on the Fashion Fictions website.

A pilot group of institutions will be running affiliated Fashion Fictions projects within the next 12 months. I am now looking for expressions of interest from academics who would like to discuss the potential of running a project at any point between September 2021 and June 2023.

To express interest and receive further information, please email Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd, Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability at Nottingham Trent University, by Friday 25 September: amy-twigger.holroyd@ntu.ac.uk

I look forward to hearing from you!

Call for fashion theorists and historians

Fashion Fictions brings people together to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems. The aim is to understand how radically sustainable fashion cultures and systems might be imagined and experienced, and discover which historical or contemporary real-world examples we can draw on in the process of exploring them.

The project has a three-stage structure, with Stage 1 inviting people to submit concise written outlines of parallel worlds in which invented historical junctures have led to familiar-yet-strange sustainable fashion cultures and systems. At Stage 2’s prototyping workshops, diverse groups of participants will add complexity to a selection of these fictions, while in Stage 3’s ‘everyday dress’ projects, participants will performatively enact the prototyped cultures and systems. 

In order to strengthen links between sustainable fashion research and fashion theory and history, I am inviting theorists and historians to participate in all three stages of the research (alongside sustainable fashion researchers, fashion and textile practitioners and ‘everyday fashion participants’, i.e. wearers) and share their expertise by highlighting theories and insights that could be usefully applied to the imagined cultures and systems, and contemporary and historical real-world examples that relate to the fictional worlds.

Participation could involve:

  • authoring a Stage 1 fiction and/or responding to the fictions submitted by others, between now and August 2021
  • taking part in a 2-day prototyping workshop in Nottingham and follow-up ‘everyday dress’ project, between October 2021 and April 2022
  • attending a one-day workshop to reflect on these experiences with other theorists and historians, in summer 2022
  • contributing a written reflective/analytical response for inclusion in a scholarly book, with further publication opportunities encouraged.

These activities are subject to funding; if successful, all travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses will be covered. While this call is targeted at UK-based academics, I am keen to hear from people outside the UK who would be interested in getting involved.

Fashion theorists and historians from any disciplinary background and any career stage are invited to express interest in participating in the project by emailing Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd, Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability at Nottingham Trent University: amy-twigger.holroyd@ntu.ac.uk

I look forward to hearing from you!

World 16

Following the 2014 discovery of a doorway (in plain sight) that led to a world – World 16 – where natural understanding infused every decision; preservation and regeneration of the biosphere is now the centre of every fashion activity. Moreover, clothes are now seen as a key conduit to interconnected living.

Human attempts to ‘put a price on’ and control nature and to exploit natural resources for short-term human benefit, have been consigned to the same category of shameful and unconscionable past practices as racism and genocide. A commission on fashion’s role in ecocide is currently underway. It is expected to find that fashion is at the service of Earth.

What if …

fashion’s primary purpose was as a ‘way in’ to nature and to diverse living with more-than-human species?

Issue targeted:

commodification, exploitation and human mastery of nature and natural resources; human exceptionalism

Inspiration:

two weeks on board the boat Lady of Avenel in the Western Isles of Scotland which ultimately gave rise to autobiographical writings on nature and clothing called Wild Dress

This World was contributed by Kate Fletcher (located in Bollington (Cheshire) and London, UK) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

World 15

Every day on every hour in World 15, our British streets are humming with eye-catching fashion statements – comprised primarily of the wearers’ own creations. What were once designer garments purchased new, have become decorated with their own handmade repairs. In places where they’ve worn through the garments or spilled paint or other godly stains, from wearing the same clothes everyday. The clothing no longer looks the same as it has morphed through time with their own individual markings. The origins of this culture dates back to a time well before Jesus of Nazareth, with cavemen, when Homo Sapiens were first working out what to wear as clothing for protection and doodling on the cave walls.

Society has forgotten what it was once like having so much choice of clothing, like when walking into a sweet shop with candy in jars and UFO flying saucer discs made from rice paper in an assortment of different colours.

Whereas some may have thought this new world may be like being in prison, where you have the same clothes every day, far from it, as Utopia has finally arrived. Mother earth is extremely grateful and currently doing rolling cartwheels in the Universe.

What if …

our British government, in a sign of great environmental leadership, has created a new world where we are no longer allowed to buy new clothes from new materials, or even old pre loved clothes and we have to wear the same clothes we had on at that time, everyday for the rest of our lives and patch repair them as we live on?

Issue targeted:

the desire for excess and a frequent change of clothing in styles, colours, textiles, leading to the environmental disaster of a huge underground mountain of discarded toxic clothing being dumped into our landfills deep within our once fertile soil

Inspiration:

myself in 2020 until the day that I die

This World was contributed by #sameclotheseveryday (located in Waiheke Island, New Zealand) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!