Introduction: Mindsets and Shifting Fashion Perceptions

The Fashion Values Methods are short form learning resources that provide insights on fashion and sustainability. Each Method takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete, and introduces you to the core issues, impacts, and industry contexts for each topic.


Welcome to the ‘Introduction: Mindsets and shifting fashion perceptions’ Method.

The Method is structured into four sections:

  1. Section 1: Introduction to the CSF Framework and Mindsets.

  2. Section 2: Professor Lucy Orta's film, made in response to Mindsets.

  3. Section 3: Mindsets and student work.

  4. Section 4: Some reflective questions to help you start thinking about Mindsets and your own practice.

*This work is based on the research of Professor Dilys Williams – Founder and Director of CSF, Professor of Fashion Design for Sustainability

Image credit: UAL


1.1 What is the CSF Framework?

Developed by Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), this framework acknowledges that sustainability involves a wide range of concerns, activities, approaches and discussions. The framework has been developed to support transformational approaches to fashion sustainability, informed by CSF’s research, education and knowledge exchange projects.

Image credit: CSF

The framework explores fashion’s macro context, from ecological and equity viewpoints, as well as the tensions between them.

Reflections on the context are then applied into a set of agendas to highlight our values in a tangible way. These critical and cross-cutting agendas are mapped out in order to identify potential intervention points.

Having explored these wider systemic elements, we can then approach current issues. Whilst presented as critical considerations, it is important to see these issues as symptoms, rather than as underlying causes of our current climate.

A range of mindsets were developed in response to observing the anxiety [MBN1] that can be felt by many who take on sustainability thinking. Each mindset is linked to methods and practices that can be adopted to tackle these (often overwhelming) issues.


1.2 Mindsets

Image credit: UAL

The destructive nature of the current fashion system is well documented. Fashion needs practical solutions and behaviour changes. But more than that, it needs a collective vision and a shift in mindsets as to what fashion is and can become, in both business and artistic practice.

Contributing positively to change means imagining new systems, new narratives, new services and new products. Solutions addressing efficiency gains can only go so far.

Increasingly, evidence suggests that fashion, and particularly fashion education, engaged in sustainability needs to be liberating, active, co-owned and self-determined by those involved for meaningful change to take place.

The eight mindsets we have named below offer an alternative take on fashion and sustainability. This involves a values-based approach, rather than a problem-based approach, foregrounded through recognising what the world needs from fashion in order to thrive. They inform our work in transforming fashion education and equip students and graduates with new perspectives and starting points for explorations of fashion design, business and communication.

  1. Activism: The opportunity to have agency as a wearer of fashion. What does activism look like in fashion today?

  2. Authenticity: Innovations in traceability, transparency, and technology –alongside traditional systems of craftsmanship and heritage.

  3. Collaboration: Working across disciplines and other traditional boundaries to share knowledge and experience for a collective, holistic response to a problem.

  4. Ecological Thinking: A nature-centred approach to design. Considering nature’s systems as our starting point and placing nature at the centre of all considerations.

  5. Equity: Referencing issues such as labour rights in the supply chain, but also larger structures and flows of power that affect the business of fashion and fashion’s role in cultures.

  6. Resilience: The opportunity to create fashion systems that are strong, stable and prosperous, whilst being ready to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

  7. Resourcefulness: A positive perspective on symptoms of unsustainable behaviour, such as waste and limited access to resources.

  8. Sufficiency: An antidote to the cultural epidemic of extreme consumption – both in artistic and business practice.

Image credit: Kaela Katz, CSF

“All that we create, recognise and present, whether a collection, images, words or actions, are directly related to our mindsets; how we perceive and understand the world. It is our values, translated into mindsets that shape us, shape the world and in turn, shape our abilities as humans, to look after each other and ourselves in our precious home on earth.”

Professor Dilys Williams – Founder and Director of CSF, Professor of Fashion Design for Sustainability


2. Professor Lucy Orta's Mindsets Film & Reflections

Lucy Orta, visual artist, Professor and Chair of Art & the Environment, has created a resonant interpretation, as a creative response to some of the mindsets. This conceptual film draws together a series of performances and installations.


3. Mindsets and Student Work - Films

The following short films have been developed by students and staff from across University of the Arts London. The films convey the mindsets in abstract ways. Direction, consultancy and support was given by LCF’s School of Design and Technology Creative Director Rob Phillips, CSF Director Dilys Williams, CSF Head of Education (Sustainability) Nina Stevenson, and Sustainability Academic Lecturer Gabrielle Miller.


Activism - By Fiorella Pantaleo



Authenticity - By Johanna Hammer


Collaboration - By Calvin Chinthaka



Ecological Thinking - By Gabrielle Miller & Rob Phillips




Equity - By Alice Galli



Resilience - By Yidan Zhang



Resourcefulness - By Serena Fanelli



Sufficiency - By Shiqi Guo



3.1 Mindsets and Student Work - Projects

Image credit: UAL

At CSF we believe that participatory learning and co-creation should be placed at the heart of the student experience. We have been reflecting on our collaborations between industry and education over the past ten years and have highlighted these explorations below, through the lens of the mindsets.

In this section we highlight some projects generated through our ongoing collaboration with Kering Group. These projects have been led by fashion students and graduates who have been empowered with new mindsets and the skills and capabilities to disrupt and reinvent all parts of the fashion system. They engage with different worldviews to enable critiques of existing fashion narratives and the conceptualisation of new products, services and systems for fashion that place nature and human equity first.

This standout work has been recognised using the lens of the eight mindsets. Individually, the work offers informed and critical responses to the existing fashion system, through bold and insightful concepts that contribute to a new equitable fashion system. Collectively, they show how fashion can and will transform, when starting with one of the eight values-based mindsets, as opposed to the dominant mindset of efficiency or economic growth.


Image credit: Kat Smith

  • Hijra community project by Tobias Ebel. This proposal explores ways that Gucci could empower the Indian transgender (Hijra) community. Positive social impact and changes to the lives of Indian transgender people are facilitated by skill workshops and increased employment opportunities.

  • The Story by Joanna Lanceley and Helen Wang. The Story leverages components of grassroots activism, such as knowledge sharing and peer support, in order to give employees an active voice at Gucci. Challenging the workforce to expand their knowledge and skillset within sustainability also generates ideas for the future of Gucci Equilibrium.


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  • Annie & Ananya by Sonja Antosalo, Elise Comrie, Revekka Papanikolaou, Natasha Petruzziello and Mengyao Qi. Annie & Ananya is a digital colouring book designed to help build a relationship between consumers and makers whilst also empowering women in the fashion industry. The book is an educational tool that provides tangible and accessible information on garment industry working conditions.

  • Lapis Lazuli project by Maria Flores Parra. This project considers the cultural heritage of Lapis Lazuli mines in Chile and proposes a fully traceable and transparent supply chain for the stone. Maria also celebrates the livelihood, tradition and skill of female artisans involved in Lapis Lazuli production.


Image Credit: Kat Smith

  • Susiety by Zhewei Jin, Susan Muncey, Helena Raywood and Thiago Ettore Larsen Schuch. Susiety is an online platform that disrupts the perception of sustainability and attitudes towards consumption in a collaborative way. Users are encouraged to share stories that promote the reuse, recycling, and longevity of Kering products, helping each other to build a sense of community and a culture of caring.

  • In Her Shoes by Frederike Eilf, Joao Maraschin, Rahel Stephanie and Krystal Cyan Xiao. In Her Shoes is a networking app that connects women of varying socio-cultural, economic and professional backgrounds. Its premise is ‘breaking boundaries and uniting women’, aiming to raise awareness of and tackle issues affecting women in the fashion industry and beyond.

Ecological Thinking

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  • Post-Carbon project by Dian-Jen Lin. This project showcases an innovative, lab-grown T-shirt for Stella McCartney that can filter air, absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. The premise is to place nature at the centre of the design process, in a scenario where fashion can succeed in having a carbon-negative output.

  • Future Artisans by Laure Fernandez. Future Artisans merges science with sustainable materials and creates a unique method to design Gucci’s patterns as well as exploring the future of printing processes. The process uses natural, microbial pigments and applies stimulus such as sound vibrations to cause the micro-organisms to expand, forming beautiful and unique coloured patterns.


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  • Social Profit and Loss by Shinjini Bardhan, Emilie Bruyere, Ah-He Jung, and Joana Monteiro. Modelled on Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss framework, this group’s Social Profit and Loss enables brands to make better informed decisions on material choices by quantifying the social impact of their operations and processes.

  • The Gucci Empowering Ecosystem by Shengnan He. The Gucci Empowering Ecosystem is a social project which aims to integrate and empower minority communities with product development opportunities. The project provides a platform from which to showcase the talents of such communities and encourage inclusion across the fashion industry.


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  • Designing Denim with Nature by Jennifer Kusowski. Designing Denim with Nature proposes building a Fibreshed in the UK to rethink the way denim is produced at Stella McCartney. A Fibreshed is a circular system where textiles are designed, grown, processed, woven, sold, worn and eventually composted locally. Harnessing regional knowledge and expertise demonstrates resilience in the face of fluctuations in global systems.

  • Stitch Up by Harry Reed. Stitch Up aims to demonstrate that restoring someone’s dignity through skills is not only life changing but is also a worthy investment. Retaining the craftsmanship associated with Gucci’s fashion production, prisoners are given the expertise and ability needed to establish a career in fashion production once they are released. A focus on quality and craftsmanship ensures that graduates of the programme have the necessary abilities to work within luxury fashion as well as having built a strong sense of worth and achievement.


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  • Kelp and seaweed development by Fiona Fung. Fiona’s work challenges traditional notions of material and acknowledges the necessity to move away from petroleum-based products in fashion. Her project for Stella McCartney involves research development into kelp and seaweed as a replacement for thermoplastics, one that can hopefully work across the system through more than one form.

  • The Amadou Mushroom Skin project by Irene-Marie Seelig. This project explores the use of mushroom ‘leather’, an innovative material made from the skin of Amadou mushrooms. Mushrooms provide a renewable, biodegradable and cruelty free alternative to traditional leather and synthetic or polyester materials.

  • Zero-waste project by Lydia Ngo. Lydia advocates for the reuse and recycling of materials such as leather off-cuts including veg-tanned and Piñatex leather, plastic bottles and plastic bags at Gucci. Consumers are also encouraged to bring purchased products back to Gucci to be re-moulded and transformed into ‘new’ products.


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  • Fashion Fasting by Julia-Sophie Jelinek, Rosalie Overgaauw, Maria Chiara Sozzi, Pei Yuen Yong and Leonie Zimmermann. Fashion Fasting is a social media campaign that asks users to undertake a wardrobe audit and better understand their feelings about ownership, use and consumption. Reconnecting people with their clothing could help to increase the value attributed to unused or forgotten pieces which could, in turn, reduce over-consumption and unnecessary waste.

  • Closed loop system by Aniela Fidler-Wieruszewska. A closed-loop local system developed for Alexander McQueen uses electronic waste as embroidery thread and embellishment. The story at the heart of the work is empowering Indian communities to combat the increasingly visible problem of electronic waste.


4. End of Method Reflection

Image Credit: Kaela Katz, CSF

Now that you are familiar with the eight mindsets, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learnt and to review your thoughts. Make sure you have a pen or pencil and some paper.

Firstly, set a timer and spend up to 2 minutes writing a stream of consciousness about what you have learnt in this method. This means continuously writing everything that comes to mind without censoring yourself. If you prefer, you could create a mind map or sketch. You should consider:

  • How are you feeling?

  • What has been the most significant thing you’ve learnt? Why is this?

  • Which of the mindsets do you think already resonate with your work or practice?

  • Was there anything you didn’t agree with or would like to investigate further?

  • How could you further embed these mindsets into your work or practice to create positive impact?

Be expansive in your writing. There are no right or wrong answers.

Secondly, relate each of the mindsets to your own creative practice, using the critical questions below as prompts:

  • How could your practice promote agency for wearers of fashion?

  • What might activism look like in and through your work?

  • What steps could you take to ensure that your work and practice is authentic?

  • Are there any innovations (such as traceability, transparency, technology) that you can think of that may support you in this?

  • Which other disciplines or boundaries could you work across and collaborate with?

  • How could you share and receive knowledge and experience with others in your practice?

Ecological Thinking
  • How would your practice change if you put nature first?

  • How can your work provide benefits to nature?

  • How does your practice impact on issues in the supply chain? Is there anything you could improve to become more equitable?

  • Where do you see yourself balancing flows of power, and positively affecting fashion’s role in cultures?

  • Is your practice able to adapt to a rapidly changing world? How could you increase your readiness?

  • How can your practice contribute to a strong and stable fashion system?

  • Identify an area/s in which you and your practice could be more resourceful.

  • How could you and your practice encourage and enable others to be more resourceful?

  • What steps can you take to counter cultural notions of consumption?

  • What would this look like from an artistic and a business perspective?