Fashion Fictions: learning to challenge the status quo

Twigger Holroyd, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3403-3516 and Aspinall, M., 2022. Fashion Fictions: learning to challenge the status quo. In: The Future of International Fashion and Design Education, Istituto Marangoni London, 29 September 2022.

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The globalised fashion and textile industry is deeply implicated in the devastation of Earth’s life-supporting systems, with negative environmental and social impacts generated at every stage of a garment’s lifecycle. Incremental improvements are overshadowed by the ever-increasing volumes of garments manufactured by an industry wedded to economic growth. A huge reduction in resource use in the global North – supported by altered social and cultural norms and alternative economic models – is needed if we are to develop fashion systems that work within ecological limits. Yet it can be difficult to imagine radical alternatives when the status quo feels so entrenched. Fashion students can find themselves caught between the desire to pursue forward-looking approaches to sustainability and the need to demonstrate a professional understanding of today’s industrial practices. Furthermore, while fashion education has long supported young designers to push the boundaries of aesthetics and construction, opportunities to challenge economic norms and the societal narratives that underpin them are rare.

The Fashion Fictions project was founded in 2020, inspired by the belief that playful imagination is a first step to forging the alternative fashion systems that are urgently needed. The project provides a structure for participants to envision enticing parallel worlds where people live differently with their clothes, through writing, prototyping and embodied enactment. Educators across the world are incorporating Fashion Fictions into their curricula, with activity ranging from short one-off workshops to semester-long major projects. We will share examples of these diverse interpretations, along with reflections gathered from educators and students. These reflections provide evidence that participation in the project’s speculative design process gives students a valuable opportunity to question the embedded social, cultural and economic norms of the world they live, dress and design within, and to develop a more expansive view of their own agency as potential changemakers.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Twigger Holroyd, A. and Aspinall, M.
Date: September 2022
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham School of Art & Design
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 09 Jun 2023 09:37
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2023 09:06

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