About us

The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion was formed in 2018 by (in alphabetical order) Kate Fletcher, Lynda Grose, Timo Rissanen and Mathilda Tham. The formation of the Union was inspired by the Union of Concerned Scientists, formed in 1969 in the USA. Our manifesto embodies our intention for founding this Union. We are researchers focusing on fashion and sustainability, and our primary aim is to engage with other researchers as well as business.

The co-founders are:

Kate Fletcher PhD is Research Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion in University of the Arts London, UK. Over the last two decades, her original thinking and progressive outlook has infused the field of fashion, textiles and sustainability with design thinking, and come to define it. She has written or edited six books available as many languages, including Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys (2008, 2014) which is in active use in commercial design studios and is the principal text in academic seminar rooms around the world. Kate is the most cited scholar in the field and the creator of directional fashion and sustainability projects including the Craft of Use and Fashion Ecologies. She is currently working on nature and design and fashion localism within academia, business and government.

Lynda Grose is Chair of the Fashion Design program at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. She has worked on sustainability in fashion design for almost three decades with corporations, artisans, farmers, NGO’s, governmental and educational institutions. Grose co-founded ESPRIT’s ecollection (1992), the first ecologically responsible clothing line developed by a major corporation, which framed the supply chain impacts approach to fashion and sustainability now prevalent industry-wide. She was a major force in popularizing organic and Cleaner CottonTM through her work with The Sustainable Cotton Project.
      Grose co-authored Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change (Laurence King Publishers, London), available in five languages. She is a contributing author to Opening Up the Wardrobe (Novus Press), The Routledge Handbook on Sustainable Fashion (Routledge), Sustainable Textiles: Life Cycle and Environmental Impact (Woodhouse Publishing, London), and Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles: Values, Design, Production and Consumption (Greenleaf Publishing). Her articles have appeared in International Textiles Magazine, Ecotextiles, and Pesticides News, the Pesticide Action Networks journal.
      She is currently working on post-growth design concepts aiming to satisfy the wearer’s desire for something new in ‘ways other’ than shopping.

Timo Rissanen PhD is an educator, scholar, designer and artist. He is currently the assistant professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons School of Design and he also serves as an associate director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School. He was born in Finland and trained as a fashion designer at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in Australia. Rissanen completed a practice-based PhD on zero waste fashion design at UTS in 2013. As an artist he has focused on the humanity of labour, politics and love through installation, performance and cross-stitched poetry. Rissanen co-curated Fashioning Now with Alison Gwilt in 2009 and Yield with Holly McQuillan in 2011, and he has co-published two books on fashion and sustainability, Shaping Sustainable Fashion with Gwilt in 2011 and Zero Waste Fashion Design with McQuillan in 2016.

Mathilda Tham’s (PhD) work sits in a positive, feminist, creative and activist space between design, futures studies and sustainability. Her work is informed by metadesign and focuses on creating new legend for socio-material relations. Originally a fashion designer, today she draws on symbolic and performative qualities of fashion in broader remits, such as of building and home making for permaculture and active ageing. She is Professor in Design at Linnaeus University, Sweden, where she has been part of leading the development and implementation of visionary design programmes BA and MA Design + Change and BA Visual Communication + Change. Mathilda is a co-founder of Småland Living Lab, a regional living lab for futures of sustainability. Publications include Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion, co-edited with Kate Fletcher.

The core team also includes:

Otto von Busch (PhD) is associate professor of Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design. In his artistic practice and research he explores participatory forms of fashion reform, where fashion acts as a collective experience of empowerment, liberation and shared aliveness. Over the last decades, he has examined alternative perspectives on fashion, from hacktivism, Buddhism, and imaginal mysticism. Some of his latest works examine fashion as an energy and embodied emotion, utilising the lenses of biology and neuroscience

Amy Twigger Holroyd (PhD) is a designer, maker, researcher and writer. She is a Senior Lecturer in Design, Culture and Context at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Amy founded her experimental knitwear label, Keep & Share, in 2004, to explore ideas of slowness and craft in relation to fashion and sustainability. Her PhD, completed at Birmingham City University in 2013, formed the basis of her first book, Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes, published in 2017. She has since co-edited two further books. The practical side of her doctoral research developed into Reknit Revolution, an ongoing initiative supporting knitters to rework the items in their wardrobes. Current projects include the collaborative leadership of two research networks, Stitching Together and Crafting the Commons, and the development of an initiative that explores fictional storyworlds in order to imagine, experience and analyse alternative fashion systems.

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson is a journalist, author and editor of nicefashion.org. She is based in Oslo, Norway, and was for many years editor of a leading Norwegian fashion magazine, gaining valuable insights into the narrow thought-mode of the industry. Over a decade ago she switched gears and developed a platform for sharing knowledge surrounding environmental and ethical issues in fashion and textiles, and named it Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical Fashion. This became an internet site for both designers and consumers with funding from the Norwegian government. The platform has since moved to Facebook to be more interactive, as other similar initiatives emerged. She has co-authored several books, many on wool and crafts, and the latest a co-production on apparel care. She leads dissemination for research projects generated by the Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at OsloMet and is also an expert correspondent for EcoTextile News.