Manifesto

Manifesto

1st January 2019

Planetary systems are under threat. Fashion and clothing products and activities contribute to the destruction of these systems. They also contribute to the increasing disconnection between humans and Earth.

We, the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion, recognise that the response of the fashion sector to the intensifying ecological crisis has been – and continues to be – over-simplified, fragmented and obstructed by the growth logic of capitalist business models as they are currently realized and practiced. Further we recognize that uncritical research findings, duplication of research, reduction and misuse of scientific and technical knowledge reinforces and speeds up this over-simplified condition in the fashion industry.

It is our view that concerned fashion and clothing researchers can no longer remain uninvolved or complacent and that as researchers, we need to conduct ourselves in new ways. We call on fashion researchers to unite for concerted action and leadership over the use of scientific and artistic knowledge that is more relevant to and commensurate with the multiple crises we face. For us this action requires both that something fundamental is disrupted and something significantly different is offered. We are committed to examining and accelerating the uptake of diverse ‘other ways’ in the fashion sector.

The Union of Concerned Researchers proposes to:

  1. Create an ‘activist knowledge ecology’, that is, to develop a system of knowledge about fashion sustainability that is concerned with how knowledge is organised and shared as well as the data points themselves, and to direct such a system purposefully towards fostering change;
  2. Advocate for whole systems and paradigm change, beyond current norms and business-as-usual. This includes rejecting overly-cautious economic, legislative and policy frameworks;
  3. Diversify the voices within fashion and sustainability discourse, to reflect multiple perspectives beyond the dominant business approaches presented, including but not limited to the global south and indigenous communities;
  4. Express our determined opposition to ill-advised and destructive fashion projects;
  5. Formulate visions—and corresponding research practices—that allow for the possibility of enacting new relationships between humans and Earth in the context of fashion;
  6. Take a leadership role in debating existing and new ideas and creating action around fashion-sustainability themes, especially in areas where the generation of new knowledge is of actual or potential significance;
  7. Devise means for turning research applications towards the underlying root causes of pressing environmental and social problems, including but not limited to climate change, wealth inequality, biodiversity loss, and plastic pollution;
  8. Organise, when determined desirable and feasible, fashion researchers to translate radical step change into effective political, and other, action;
  9. Review and revise, when deemed necessary, this manifesto.

Sign the manifesto here.

Arnhem communique

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Activities / Local Assemblies

A local assembly of UCRF took place in Arnhem, The Netherlands on 5th June 2019 and involved around 70 people. Following an Open Space methodology, the local assembly put forward a range of urgent themes for debate and voted to discuss nine of them — a summary of the conversations follows. In addition, seven priorities for further action and consideration were put forward, the Arnhem communique in which the Union should seek to foreground:

  • Interdependency
  • Togetherness
  • Lightness and play
  • Care
  • The knowledge and practice to grow out of growth
  • The global living wage
  • Connecting and communicating with the outside world

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Union Local Assembly at ArtEZ Community Event

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Activities / Blogroll / Local Assemblies

On 5th June 2019, the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion is holding its first Local Assembly in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and we invite you to come and take part.

The Local Assembly will take place within a ‘Community Event’ of the ArtEZ Fashion Professorship and MA Fashion Held in Common. It will be organised using open space methodology and will discuss urgent questions and issues around fashion and sustainability. Our intention is to draft a communiqué from the Arnhem Assembly to share will the rest of the Union.

The event runs from 13:00 – 18:30 CET.

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