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Author of 'Stitched up', Tansy Hoskins, chats with BSc and MSc Psychology for Fashion students

Psychology students in the lecture theatre with Tansy Hoskins
Psychology students in the lecture theatre with Tansy Hoskins
Tansy Hoskins
Written by
Jesse Tilley
Published date
16 October 2019

On Wednesday 9th October, Tansy Hoskins, joined us at John Princes Street to give a talk to BSc and MSc Psychology of Fashion students about her book, finishing with a live Q and A session with staff and students. Tansy is a known journalist and author of 'Stitched Up - The Anti-Capitalist Book Of Fashion.'

"Tansy Hoskins understands fashion’s powerful allure and asserts that it is capitalism’s “favourite child”. Her book begins with the unflinching description of the horrific [factory collapse] that trapped and killed 1,133 garment workers and injured 2,500 more in Bangladesh. Aside from the appalling conditions, she details the disastrous environmental and social costs of fashion. By the end of the book, she makes a strong case for nothing less than a revolution" - Emma Watson - Actress.

Q and A

Aurore: Do you like fashion?

Tansy: I don’t like the industry, but I love the creativity within it. I love graduate end of year shows and up and coming designers and events in East London. There’s joy to be had in fashion and the creativity it holds, I just don’t like the industry.

Aurore: I just want to refer back to your book ‘Stitched Up’, have you been sued by any of the brands that you named and shamed in the book?

Tansy: You can only raise a complaint within one year of the publish date, so I was holding my breath for a while. I didn’t get sued by anyone, but a newspaper re-worded an extract from the book and got in trouble with a big brand – oops!

Aurore: Do you honestly think that we can change the industry?

Tansy: It can’t be changed in isolation and it’s most definitely not going to change from within. We need regulation and legislation on a global scale just the same as some other industries which are governed by rules. There are some fashion brands actually asking for legislation. They say things like, ‘we’re aware that we need to change our practices and we want to become more sustainable but this makes us no longer competitive. Can we have some legislation to follow that will ensure we’re doing the right thing but remaining competitive?’

Audience: Who do you think are the right people to get through to politicians?
Tansy: You! No-one more so than you guys right now. Make a movement.

Audience member: I see and hear the noise around sustainability and hear the complaints and arguments back at how it isn’t practical. There is simply a lack of education around it. Is it too early for education in schools from an early age? People aren’t familiar with modern ethics.

Tansy: Absolutely. People are crying out for knowledge.

Audience: Consumers are aware of the crisis and really want to get behind being more sustainable with their choices. However, we’re also within a generation of very trend and variety focused consumers. Do you think second-hand platforms such as Depop are really contributing to a more sustainable future or do you think they are simply maintaining the need for variety as a consumer?

Tansy: What a very good question. It’s definitely helping but it’s not the answer.

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"Over the sound system Extinction Rebellion described the fashion industry as ‘playing the fiddle while Rome burns’. The queue was a Hunger Games moment, a Fashion Week audience of outlandish ‘Capital’ people refusing to see the reality the ‘Districts’ had brought to their door. It was an indifference to reality that reduced the spectacle of fashion to sad blandness..." - - "The fashion industry’s relationship with the future is deeply disturbing – it is simultaneously obsessed with the future and unable to confront it. As an industry, it constantly looks ahead and yet it won’t. Fashion wants to be the future, to construct it by defining what new things we should lust after, and yet it refuses to see the looming precipice this approach has created. All it can truly promise us is a headlong rush into disaster." - - My thoughts on Extinction Rebellion bringing @boycottfashion to London Fashion Week #LFW - Link in bio.

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