For a long time now many have talked about sustainable fashion, of how both small brands and luxury giants can coexist with an ethical and with a low environmental – impact kind of production chain, but the steps taken so far have not been sufficient; indeed, there are still many challenges to face, the planet cries out for help and few are actually listening.
According to the 2019 Pulse of the Fashion Industry Report, companies are not moving fast enough to implement effective sustainable strategies to reverse the direction on which the fashion system has been set to for many years, typically built on a plan of ” logical growth ”(namely uninterrupted production), which will perhaps meet the markets, but not the real needs of the planet and the well-being of a whole social fabric, currently crushed by the frantic pace of massive production.
Implementing sustainable strategies while remaining in the same destructive system of “logical growth” cannot work. It is in this dark scenario that light can perhaps be seen at the end of the tunnel.
“Earth Logic: Fashion Research Action Plan” can seriously represent the radical turning point in the concept of sustainable fashion that we need. The creators of this project are professors Kate Fletcher and Mathilda Tham. The first is a professor at the Center for Sustainable Fashion at the University of the Arts in London. She is writer and editor of 8 books, later translated into seven languages. Among her most important works is Fashion Localism, included in the Fashion Ecologies project, which aims to analyze fashion culture in the local areas, and the book Craft of Use: Post-Growth Fashion, in which she explored the different ways of interacting with clothing and fabrics, by overcoming the constrictive conception of the fashion market and by promoting a circular use of dress, which is interpreted as an on-going process, changing over time, just like those who wear it.
Mathilda Tham is a Professor of Design at Linnaeus University in Sweden and affiliated with Goldsmiths University in London. She was a member of the board of Mistra, the Swedish foundation dedicated to strategic environmental research and of the Mistra Future Fashion program. She is internationally recognized for her commitment to research as activism, and for a transdisciplinary approach involving fashion, sustainability, and other disciplines.
Together, they are co-founders of the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion and creators of Earth-Logic, (a project commissioned by the JJ Charitable Trust) a plan that promotes the sustainable approach outside of a system mainly set on economic growth, by putting the Earth first, even before profit.
The action plan can be consulted by downloading it in PDF format from the official website here. Making the strategy available for everyone is an indication of the real need to spread this new possibility quickly and best.
In the preface of the document, the mission and values of the Earth-Logic system are divided into three parts and painstakingly explained: the first part focuses on the exploration of projects and developments that may increase the volume of the research. The second part contains a list of new operating methods that must replace those implemented in the modernist era, which are no longer actual. Among these, the need to work in cooperation and not in competition stands out, putting aside the concept of “hero” or of “genius” and replacing it with the necessity of work as a community.
The third and final part refers to six new scenarios addressed to the various institutions, governments, and disciplines that should adopt to encourage the implementation of the plan on a full scale. The goal is a reformulation of the economic growth model, towards an approach that privileges the Earth.
Here are the six basic ideas:
1. Less: Grow out of growth
2. Local: Scaling, re-centring
3. Plural: New centres for fashion
4. Learning: New knowledge, skills, mindsets for fashion
5. Language: New communication for fashion
6. Governance: New ways of organising fashion
Since we don’t like to make excessive spoilers, we strongly recommend reading the plan and putting it into practice, in our way, so that these small changes will surely take the entire community one step further in the wake of this revolution.
“This is the time to be brave, to try what we have not yet rehearsed, to stretch our imagination. We see all parts of our society having important roles in this future (a future which has to start now) and this includes industry. We are eager for a major business to explore how it could apply Earth Logic, how it could operate within a changed paradigm of earth first. This will benefit all of us on planet earth, including humans.This is what this plan invites you into. Welcome. (Fletcher, K. and Tham, M. (2019). Earth Logic Fashion Action Research Plan. London: The J J Charitable Trust, pp., 12.)