Article by Centre for Sustainable Fashion | Monica Buchan-Ng | 02.28.2022

Using Fashion Activism to Challenge Social Injustice

How can we use fashion activism to challenge social injustice? Fashion has a complicated relationship with society. It can be a cause and perpetuator of injustice. The global fashion industry is well-known for its abuses of human rights, its lack of accountability, and its exploitation of marginalised groups and workers.  

But paradoxically, it can also be a force for social good – for example by creating agency, dignity and distinction between people; by giving us a way to express ourselves, our politics and our identities; or by providing fulfilling livelihoods and creative careers to those who work in fashion.  

To explore the tension in this paradox, Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) have created a new 4-week online course – Fashion Values: Society. This course is freely accessible for anyone in the world, and you can take it at your own pace with approximately three hours of learning each week.  

The course will empower you with the tools to address the challenges facing fashion and society today. You’ll understand how fashion activism has been used to comment on society. You’ll be inspired by intersectional perspectives from activists around the world, learning from historical and contemporary case studies, campaigns and resources. You’ll understand the process of change in relation to fashion and society, exploring various models that provide ways of thinking, feeling or working towards change. You’ll learn about where power lies to create change and to challenge social injustice in fashion. And you’ll examine many approaches to and models of activism, as well as the importance of resilience.  

Fashion Values: Society is the third instalment of four new online courses, following the launch of Fashion Values: Nature and Fashion Values: Economy in 2021. Designed for a diverse audience including students, sustainability professionals, fashion and business professionals, educators, designers, strategists, and communicators, the course has been conceived and developed by CSF’s education team – Prof. Dilys Williams, Nina Stevenson, Lou Budd, Liz Parker, Kae Katz and Mina Jugovic. Contributing experts include Aja Barber, Dr Otto von Busch, The Rational Dress Society, Tanveer Ahmed and Kalpona Akter. 

  Watch the course trailer on Youtube.  

 By the end of the course, you will be able to...   

  • Examine social injustice in fashion from intersectional perspectives 

  • Explore ideas of power and change  

  • Be inspired by historical and contemporary fashion activism that challenges social injustice in fashion 

  • Use design thinking to develop, prototype, evaluate and communicate fashion activism that can challenge social injustice 

 Fashion Values: Society is now open for registration, register on FutureLearn.