Can I sign up as an individual?
Yes. Part of signing up is that you complete information about your affiliation or job and say why you want to join the Union.

Can my organisation sign up?
No. When you sign up to the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion you sign up as an individual. However there are no limits to the number of people who can sign up from any one organisation.

Will my name appear on a public list?
Yes. By signing up your name and affiliation will appear on the list of signatories on the Union’s website. By signing up you also allow your name to be on the list of signatories included in press releases and statements from the Union (circulated in advance of publishing).

Can I withdraw from the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion after signing?
Yes. You can withdraw at any time without prejudice, however your name will still appear on versions of the Union’s statements and publications published while you were a signatory.  

What responsibilities am I signing up for?
We have a number of tasks and actions for signatories to contribute to Union activities. These activities will be outlined on the website over the next months and may include: reading suggestions for opinion piece to send to newspapers, co-organising meetings at a conference, among others.

How much time will this take?
A couple of hours a year as a signatory, and more if you’d like to become more involved or take more responsibility.

Will this cost anything? Is there a fee?
From February 2020, there will be an annual membership fee of GBP 20. In its first year, the Union’s costs were carried by the co-founders. Initially we anticipated the membership to be GBP 10 per year, however to cover the costs of running and expanding the Union website, GBP 20 was agreed upon by the board. Union members were notified of this on December 16, 2019.

How can I support this effort?
See a list of initial tasks here (link) and we encourage signatories to bring additional ideas for development to the Union collective.

Is this anti capitalist? / anti business?
Not per se. We do critique capitalism and business as it is now practised…and aim to elevate examples of ‘other ways’ that do not depend on growing demand for declining resources.

What is the benefit of being a signatory?
By being a signatory you show your support of robust knowledge-making for fashion and sustainability. A further benefit of being a signatory is that you are part of a collective group of likeminded people. Often work in fashion and sustainability can feel isolating and challenging. Together we can support each other and have more visibility and power to make real change.

When I sign up, should I then change my research practices?
We anticipate that we will all begin to work differently as we work to change things together. We will learn much and expand our options. In the short term, we ask signatories to look for opportunities within their current work to turn it towards the Union’s manifesto, i.e. that you take an active approach to helping us realize the Union’s manifesto points.

Do I have to stop flying, consuming, printing books and become vegan in order to join the UCRF?
The UCRF is an organization whose focus is on challenging the simplified discussion and predominant growth logic within the fashion sector by disseminating research and create activist knowledge ecologies. This work has in itself environmental impact and requires everyday considerations, where members have to negotiate between priorities of how to best reach the organization’s goals and the activity’s environmental impact. Whereas the UCRF supports the initiative of https://noflyclimatesci.org, the Union currently has no organization-wide policy on flying, consuming, dressing or eating, and respect individual choices on the matter.

UCRF releases questions to conferences and events addressing fashion and sustainability. What are these for?
UCRF written questions directed to conferences and event are addressed to the overall community of researchers, not for or against a certain community, agenda, brand or event. As mentioned in the manifesto, UCRF aims to mobilise for “concerted action and leadership over the use of scientific and artistic knowledge that is more relevant to and commensurate with the multiple crises we face.” The questions sent by UCRF to conferences and events are aimed at the overall community of researchers, stressing the urgency of the issues addressed, and specifically to push the discussion forward, including in relationship with other actions in the fashion and sustainability field.

UCRF seems to specifically dislike my research, why are they undermining my work?
UCRF does not take a specific stand for or against any specific methods, indexes, agendas or research programs. UCRF is not for or against any persons, brands, funders or institutions. Rather, UCRF wants to stress the importance of a “diversify the voices within fashion and sustainability discourse, to reflect multiple perspectives beyond the dominant business approaches presented, including but not limited to the global south and indigenous communities.” While it is always uncomfortable to have work criticised, UCRF is not taking any specific critical stance or theoretical position in economic or academic debates. If some of the issues UCRF raises appear critical or poignant to certain work, we hope these questions push work and debate forward, adding new angles and perspectives.

UCRF seems to be against all kinds of initiatives that support sustainability. Can’t UCRF be more constructive?
UCRF supports a wide ecology of initiatives that push for “whole systems and paradigm change, beyond current norms and business-as-usual.” UCRF wants to stress however, that what is often labelled as “constructive” is set within a paradigm of sustaining business-as-usual, that is, being “constructive” often means narrowing down possibilities to maintain a current order of things, an order that may not be sustainable from a planetary perspective.

The tone of many statements from UCRF seems academic, wouldn’t it be better if the UCRF used a more inclusive tone?
UCRF tries to use a variety of language depending on the expected audience. However, as its name suggests, UCRF is primarily a mobilisation of researchers. Most institutions of research use academic terms and language, and the primary concern of UCRF is to counterbalance a discussion across the field that is often “over-simplified, fragmented and obstructed by the growth logic of capitalist business models as they are currently realised and practiced.” 

How does the Union of Concerned Fashions Researchers compare to, for example: OTA, Textile Exchange, Sustainable Apparel Coalition/Higg Index, Designers Accord, Common Objective, GOTS, Global Fashion Agenda, Fashion Revolution, CFDA and resources?
The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (UCRF) is independent of any organisations. Everybody signs up as an individual. UCRF creates a platform for establishing a robust knowledge base about sustainability themes in the fashion sector, sharing best practice and resources.

UCRF is open to researchers, people working in the fashion industry, fashion educators, researchers, scientists, organisations  and as well as concerned laypeople.

UCRF does not promote any specific fibre, material, process, or index.

UCRF does not do consultancy.

Our interest is solely in doing work that leads us towards better understanding of how to live and dress in right relationship with the Earth.

How do I leave the Union?
To leave the Union email us with ‘LEAVE’ in the subject line and state your name.