Teaching Eco-Fashion: Is Sustainable Fashion a New Paradigm?

By Linda T. Lee and Rosalie Regni.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As educators teaching eco-fashion and textiles, we must examine the apparel and textile industry’s major impact on the environment. Design schools are at a crossroads on how we best advance sustainability in our teaching practicum. Are we to follow in the path of a global trend–driven mode of consumption where Green is the New Black? Leading thinkers state we must address the contradictions between the change demanded by fast fashion versus the need for preservation addressed by today’s slow design movement.

The paper argues that educators must emphasize slow design concepts and good practices when teaching eco-fashion. It will explore new ideas from proponents of the slow fashion movement and advocates of sustainable practices. It will examine different perspectives by members of the design, manufacturing and non-profit community. These include designer Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, a supporter of slow fashion. The paper will also focus on sustainable business practices by highlighting Patagonia, an outdoor wear company. Last, the paper will discuss the Earth Pledge foundation, a non-profit organization based in New York City that promotes Future Fashion events.

Keywords: Eco-Fashion, Sustainable Practices, Global Trade

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.247-258. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.144MB).

Prof. Linda T. Lee

Assistant Professor, Fashion Design, Fashion Design and Merchandising Department, School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Linda T. Lee has been an Assistant Professor of Fashion Design at Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts, in Richmond, Virginia since 2004. She brings great creativity and over 25 years of professional design and teaching experience in New York City’s fashion industry. Her highly recognized courses range from sustainable fashion to product development with Mayan artisans in Guatemala. The latter class was the subject of a documentary that premiered on PBS and featured by an exhibition at VCU’s Anderson Gallery. The documentary highlighted the strong service learning aspects of the Guatemala class. Professor Lee’s research interests focus on sustainable and indigenous textiles, with an emphasis on preservation of traditional weaving practices. She has delivered papers on her work at international conferences in Berlin, Copenhagen, Hawaii and Miami.

Rosalie Regni

Assistant Professor, Fashion Merchandising, Department of Fashion, School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Rosalie Jackson Regni joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002 after completing over 30 years of a distinguished career in retailing and manufacturing in New York City. As professor of merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University, she teaches classes in Fashion Forecasting, Product Development, and Advanced Store Development. Regni has delivered many papers, including at international conferences in Australia, London, Barcelona and Hawaii. She is the co-author of two textbooks for Fairchild publications: Perry’s Department Store: a Product Development Simulation and Entrepreneurship in Action: A Retail Store Simulation.


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