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UAL leads project to embed sustainability at the heart of fashion education

Student looking at fashion textiles
Student looking at fashion textiles
Fabric samples and materials at Central Saint Martins, UAL library; Alys Tomlinson
Written by
Anna Tsekouras
Published date
07 February 2020

UAL’s reputation for producing world-leading sustainable fashion talent will be the catalyst behind a project aimed at changing how fashion is taught across the world.

FashionSEEDS – a partnership between UAL, Design School Kolding, Politecnico di Milano and Estonian Academy of Arts – is run out of the UAL’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion and aims to embed sustainability at the heart of the fashion education curriculum.

The project - which will create new teaching and learning tools and resources to ensure sustainability is built into fashion education degrees - has reached its first milestone and produced a Benchmarking Report.

The Report is the first of its kind to map good practice in fashion and sustainability across European fashion education. Importantly, it identifies the gaps where interventions can have the biggest impact towards improving sustainability within Higher Education Institutions.

The project, funded by ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership for Higher Education, was set up on the back of research which showed very few universities engage with fashion for sustainability teaching. It also revealed a lack of design teachers with relevant knowledge and capabilities to deliver fashion sustainability education.

UAL’s EU Research and Innovation Manager, Nicola Dorigo Salamon says:

“Given UAL’s global position as a leader of fashion education, it is a natural fit that we should be leading on this high-profile, high impact project. The funding we have received – alongside our partners - recognises our commitment to provide a design-led approach for a world-leading fashion sustainability education. This Benchmarking Report marks the first step on a very exciting journey.”

Next steps

Designed to be a practical, hands-on tool, the FashionSEEDS team will invite 12 fashion tutors from its partner institutions to participate in a training workshop in February 2020.

Encouraged to reflect on how the teaching and learning of fashion design can change – the group will also look at how the platform and resources can be further developed for use and form collaborative learning groups that will remain active beyond the workshop.

The project goes to developing a critical framework for Fashion Design Education for Sustainability, a learning resources repository, teaching tools and a future skills foresight analysis.

Read more about FashionSEEDS.