In 2016 the Fashion Narratives For The Future project was launched, a sustainable fashion initiative across multiple countries based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (The SDGs) that aims to shift change in business culture to address sustainability and inequality. The project partner was Vivienne Westwood and saw LCF Fashion Business School students collaborating with Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA) Sustainable Fashion students to try and drive change within the industry.

The United Nations goals mean businesses have to take a new approach to strategy, design, communications, productions and culture to meet the sustainable targets set. The UN believes working with students is crucial for the future and shedding light on new sustainable opportunities and design solutions for the fashion industry.

According to the UN, “The Global Goals (SDGs) are the most ambitious plan in human history. We can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, to fight inequality and injustice, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change.” The SDGs were part of a wider UN Summit to address Sustainable Development by 2030.

Students had the opportunity to attend a talk with Vivienne Westwood for the collaboration and were also invited to a three-day workshop to explore new sustainable opportunities within the brand.

The project hopes that through collaboration students will be able to define a new model that designers, manufacturers, and businesses can incorporate to their future. The collaboration asks students to look at various entry points across fashion in terms of social, economic and environmental aspects, and formulate new ideas for change. Students have also been asked to consider labour conditions and ways to empower job creation according to the UN Ethical Fashion Initiative.

The concept, content, and process are based on The Youth Fashion Summit 2016 (YFS). YFS is initiated and organised in partnership between Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI) and KEA to give the next generation a voice and an opportunity to influence fashion business decisions made today and in the future. They gather and challenge students from all over the world to meet and come up with ideas and concepts for a sustainable future.

We were present at the first workshop in London and will be following the collaboration as it developments. The first workshop included students from MA Fashion Design Management, MA Strategic Fashion Marketing, and final year BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising, Fashion Marketing and Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding.

The initial workshop also included a panel pitch where student groups purposed some ideas to LCF and KEA academic panel, which featured Helen Beney, Programme Director for Fashion Business courses at LCF.

KEA and LCF panel at the workshop pitch.

We spoke to Tina Hjort, Sustainable Fashion teacher at KEA Design, to hear her views on the project.

The task was to bring the SDGs into the fashion businesses by featuring a fashion company. In this case we were happy to feature Vivienne Westwood. This provided the students with the opportunity to make a framework, concept and a design solution rooted in both the SDG’s as well as the company’s DNA.

The cross-disciplinary collaboration between the LCF and KEA created a great foundation for the students to research and elaborate on new sustainable opportunities and sustainable design solutions as well as defining a new eligibility for fashion now and in the future. The LCF Fashion Business students gave profound perspectives on the fashion business area and broadened up the common discussions in the teams.

KEA and LCF Fashion Business students working together at JPS.

The students were asked to think of fashion narratives for the future (2030+) that includes, The role of the sustainable fashion will be… Products/concepts/business models that will be needed are… The industry will be sustainable through… The receiver will value… and much more. We spoke to Eleanor Hathorn, third year BA (Hons) Visual Merchandising and Branding student, about the workshop. She said:

The collaboration with KEA in line with the UN Sustainability Goals made me really understand where the issues lie in sustainable fashion on a more political level. It opened up opportunity for us all to work together coming from different backgrounds yet all with the same mindset. To focus on how fashion can enhance actions to conserve and sustainably use the oceans and marine resources for sustainable development. We bounced off each other when debating the issues amongst life on land and below water, where we used our creative skills to find solutions for the increasing issues of environmental degradation and waste pollution. Overall it was a really interesting and enjoyable experience, and will fuel part of my writing for my final major project.

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