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Hello Future Fashion: Contributing to a More Sustainable Future

Clothes rack full of various clothing on wooden hangers standing in the city street.

5pm - 6pm: The Refectory, Norwich School

Free Talk Climate Change & Sustainability Panel Norwich Research Park

The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DD

Brought to you by:

Can we enjoy fashion without feeling guilty about climate change?

The facts around fast fashion are shocking...

Did you know that the UN Environment Programme estimates that the fashion industry produces 20% of global wastewater, and 10% of global carbon emissions? Or that textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally, and it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans? Every second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. By 2050, the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.

With a focus on activity taking place in Norfolk, this panel discussion will explore different ways of creating and conserving sustainable materials, inlcuding: technological innovations with processes creating lower impact and more durable materials for fashion; and low tech innovations and ways we can adapt our habits to minimise the impact of fashion on the environment, including clothes renting, mending and remaking.

Cost: Free, booking required

Recommended age: 12+

Brought to you by UEA Climate of Change, Norwich Research Park and Norwich University of the Arts.

UEA Climate of Change logo, #ThinkingWithoutBorders

Panel chair:

Dr Helen Pallett (Lecturer and researcher in UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences). Helen researches public engagement with science and technological innovation, with a focus on sustainability and environmental policy. Her current work as part of the UK Energy Research Centre explores the full range of ways that citizens are involved in achieving the transition to Net Zero. 

Looking at what consumers can do:

Kate Harper (Master’s in Fashion alumna from Norwich University of the Arts, UEA PhD Sustainable Fashion Strategies, and project lead for We Wear the Trousers, an organisation aimed at empowering consumers to keep clothing in active use for longer). Kate is researching use-based alternatives to fast fashion, specifically those employed by consumers who are actively restricting their consumption of fashion products- 'clothes-pledgers', and how these might sustainably satisfy fundamental human needs. 

Hiroko and Nigel Aono-Billson (KOBO A-B). KOBO A–B are collectors and dealers in antique and vintage Japanese fabric and cloth. They run workshops in the traditional Japanese reparation technique known as Boro - ぼ ろ, in Japanese, meaning old and tattered. The term is now commonly used in reference to all Japanese textiles that are patched, or repaired garments or bedding that have been mended using fragments of cloth. Boro textiles originate from the Edo period through to the beginning of the Showa period in Japanese history. These items were often handed down from generation to generation, usually within a family, and have become prized and treasured pieces of textile art for the beauty inherent within each piece. 

Looking at what industry can do:

Dr Duncan Rowe (Chief Technical Officer, Colorifix, Norwich Research Park). Based at the Norwich Research Park, Colorifix has developed a revolutionary dyeing process to help the textile industry dramatically reduce its environmental impact in an ethical, accessible, and cost-effective manner. Using synthetic biology they produce, deposit and fix dyes biologically, avoiding harmful chemicals whilst reducing water, energy and waste. 

Ilona Brinton (UEA alumna, Hemp on Toast). Ilona has always been interested in how our daily choices, such as the clothes we wear, can impact global natural resources. When we think about sustainability, we need to think about the whole life cycle of the garment, from producing the raw fibre to how the fabric will decompose. Hemp grows easily and with a small water footprint, produces multiple useful by-products and is fully biodegradable once the garment reaches the end of its life. Ilona believes that this plant can be a big part of the solution for a more sustainable fashion industry 

Looking at the future of fashion:

Felicity Brown (Fashion/Textiles lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts, workshop leader at New Muse workshops in Norwich including fashion repair and natural dyeing). 

Jessica Read (Master’s 'Exploring the scope, practice and impact of design's role within science and technology research' at Norwich University of the Arts). 

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