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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 is the catalyst behind a project to change how fashion is taught across the world.

FashionSEEDS - a partnership between UAL, Design School Kolding, Politecnico di Milano and the Estonian Academy of Arts - is run out of 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 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 on improving sustainability within higher education institutions.

The project, funded by the ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership for Higher Education, was established in response to research that showed very few universities engage with sustainability in fashion teaching. It also revealed a lack of design teachers with the 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

The FashionSEEDS team will invite 12 fashion tutors from its partner institutions to participate in a training workshop in February 2020.

The group will reflect on how the teaching of fashion design can change and, also, look at developing the platform and associated resources. They will also form collaborative learning groups that will remain active beyond the workshop.

The project will contribute 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.