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The fast-industrial fashion system, where profits go mostly to those at the top, and which produces high volumes of deliberate waste, is a dinosaur that will not survive the transition to sustainability. So believes textile management doctoral student David Goldsmith at the Swedish School of Textiles. In his doctoral thesis, he studied an example of its supposed opposite: a slow-artisanal social enterprise in India that makes hand-loomed fashion fabrics.
The research purpose of the project was to learn how this sort of business model operates and relate to ideas about slow and sustainable fashion. The enterprise he studied, WomenWeave, is focused on economic and social development in rural India, and employs more than 200 women. But in this business model, unlike mainstream fashion businesses, leadership works pro bono, and management work at low financial compensation. Their goal is not to make a profit, but to bring livelihoods to women living in multi-dimensional poverty.
Artisan - Fashion - Goldsmith - Kind - Fabrics
"Artisan fashion," what Goldsmith calls the kind of fabrics and garments that are made with simple tools in developing world contexts, can be a change agent because it follows an alternative, low-volume, high-value logic.
"The industrial fashion system demands high volumes of production and consumption – two things we definitely do not need now. Imagine if beautiful and meaningful artisan fashion was as common as industrial fashion is today. Production and consumption would be a tiny fraction of what it is today and the value of what we wear would again be significant," says David Goldsmith.
Dream - Nightmare - Fashion - Change - Picture
"It may seem like a dream, but what we have now is a nightmare. Everyone working toward sustainable fashion knows that radical change is needed. That is the big picture. The research however shows that the enterprise has been successful at developing and using a particular set of values and aesthetics—their kind of fashion—to get...
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