1st January 2019

Planetary systems are under threat. Fashion and clothing products and activities contribute to the destruction of these systems. They also contribute to the increasing disconnection between humans and Earth.

We, the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion, recognise that the response of the fashion sector to the intensifying ecological crisis has been – and continues to be – over-simplified, fragmented and obstructed by the growth logic of capitalist business models as they are currently realized and practiced. Further we recognize that uncritical research findings, duplication of research, reduction and misuse of scientific and technical knowledge reinforces and speeds up this over-simplified condition in the fashion industry.

It is our view that concerned fashion and clothing researchers can no longer remain uninvolved or complacent and that as researchers, we need to conduct ourselves in new ways. We call on fashion researchers to unite 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. For us this action requires both that something fundamental is disrupted and something significantly different is offered. We are committed to examining and accelerating the uptake of diverse ‘other ways’ in the fashion sector.

The Union of Concerned Researchers proposes to:

  1. Create an ‘activist knowledge ecology’, that is, to develop a system of knowledge about fashion sustainability that is concerned with how knowledge is organised and shared as well as the data points themselves, and to direct such a system purposefully towards fostering change;
  2. Advocate for whole systems and paradigm change, beyond current norms and business-as-usual. This includes rejecting overly-cautious economic, legislative and policy frameworks;
  3. 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;
  4. Express our determined opposition to ill-advised and destructive fashion projects;
  5. Formulate visions—and corresponding research practices—that allow for the possibility of enacting new relationships between humans and Earth in the context of fashion;
  6. Take a leadership role in debating existing and new ideas and creating action around fashion-sustainability themes, especially in areas where the generation of new knowledge is of actual or potential significance;
  7. Devise means for turning research applications towards the underlying root causes of pressing environmental and social problems, including but not limited to climate change, wealth inequality, biodiversity loss, and plastic pollution;
  8. Organise, when determined desirable and feasible, fashion researchers to translate radical step change into effective political, and other, action;
  9. Review and revise, when deemed necessary, this manifesto.

Sign the manifesto here.

Open UCRF insignia, buttons and banners

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Blogroll / Wiki-editathon

To activate change, it is good to have your presence noticed in the wider community. It is also powerful to have symbols and processes for like-minded people to gather around. At UCRF, and inspired by labour and trades unions, some members at Parsons made a banner a few months ago to take on climate protests. As the photo shows, the banner of the Parsons-chapter got a rather eccentric touch. 

Why not make your own banner? The UCRF Board encourages members to consider making a banner, stickers or badges. It has been our experience that the production of union insignia not merely functions as a symbolic event, but encourages a spirit of collaboration, shared reflection and community building. 

As a start, we have made a simplified UCRF logo so that it can be used for embroidery, badges etc in a zipped folder HERE. Also included are the source files for the union text and logo and we encourage members to design and craft their own member insignia. It is our hope this could offer a very basic tool towards wider collaborations between union members, together with the upcoming yearly Wikipedia editathon and the production of our collaborative glossary. Note the name of the font used in the UCRF logo is “Amster.”

Local Assembly Buenos Aires

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Blogroll / Local Assemblies

Date: Wednesday 15th April 2020
Time: 9am – 12pm
Address: Jose Hernandez Museum, Av. del Libertador 2373 – (1425) Buenos Aires, Argentina

The starting point for discussion at Local Assembly Buenos Aires will be what we can do to achieve sustainability in the local fashion industry? The focus will be a diagnosis of the local fashion industry, but with potential solutions, to fix the system.

To register for the event e-mail

Local Assembly Connecticut

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Blogroll / Local Assemblies

We happily announce three events in Connecticut over the next three months exploring three different themes!

The first, on soil health and natural fibers, takes place on Saturday 7th March 2020, 6-8pm at The Studio Fairfield.

The Assembly will convene a diverse panel representing ranch, farm, and city; policy makers, practitioners, and economic development:

  • Nancy Cowser, executive director, Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, New London 
  • Trent Loos, sixth-generation Central Nebraskan rancher, writer, radio host, Rural Route Radio, and member of President Trump’s agriculture advisory board 
  • Anne McIntyre-Lahner, owner-operator, Olympia Farm, Guilford, Connecticut; past president, the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association; current Vice President, the American Romney Breeders Association; with 37 years in human services, including 26 years with the State of Connecticut, serving in numerous management roles in the Judicial Branch and Department of Children and Families
  • William Calvert, TILL: bFt CCO, a creative leader working internationally within image-making, product design, trans-media marketing, and multi-level team management 

Jane Philbrick, TILL: bFt artist founder, moderates. The conversation will range freely around the theme of soil and natural fibers, with a special focus on American and Northeastern American wools, toward building community awareness of our reviving domestic textile and apparel economies. 

The evening highlights the opportunity our heritage of land stewardship and design innovation offers Connecticut communities to lead in the global challenge for planetary well-being.


The Studio Fairfield is a six-minute walk from Fairfield Station, MetroNorth, New Haven line.

Please note that the other two Connecticut events are about:

  • fashion business model innovation (April, TBD)
  • community-based labs and biomaterials, convening scientists, engineers, designers, and artists (May, New London)

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

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Blogroll / Wiki-editathon

It is time for the Union’s yearly collaborative wikipedia edit-a-thon!

On 26th February 2020 we will revisit the “sustainable fashion” page on Wikipedia to add and update its content. The page is an entry-point and resource with an average of 400-500 daily visits, so the UCRF hopes to keep the information as reliable as possible. We are happy much of the information and links to resources and peer-reviewed articles and books has been added to the page, as well as a critical analysis on the topics related to sustainable fashion. A recap of last year’s edit-a-thon is here.

Now, on February 26th, volunteers from the Union signatories are invited to yet again collectively manifest an ‘activist knowledge ecology’ by editing the sustainable fashion page on Wikipedia. We aim to make this a recurring yearly event to keep the page an accurate and critical resource on the topic.

It is our hope that Union members can help add a global perspective on sustainable fashion, adding more perspectives and voices on sustainable fashion. Also, after merging the “sustainable clothing” page last year, we see a definite need for more references and links to the material and fiber sciences as well as life-cycle analysis, just to name a few topics. 

Members of the UCRF board will be active between 3pm South Africa / 1 pm London / 8am New York to 11pm UK / 6pm NY / 3pm SF

Here’s a guide to getting started editing on Wikipedia:

1. Familiarise yourself with how to edit a Wiki page. I recommend the resources here: (these pages focus on gender, but the underlying editing issues are all relevant). There are some Wiki principles to familiarise yourself with and some basic editing tools that will help you. 

2. Open and click edit. 

3. Create a Wikipedia account if you want to. It is your choice. There is some guidance available to help you make various decisions by following the links. 

4. Open our designated chat room and meet whoever is online There will be a host in the chatroom throughout the session. The chat room has been set up to enable interaction between the editors whilst the editing is live. The host will greet you and be available for conversation. It is unlikely the host will be able to answer all questions, but will help figure out the answers where possible. 

5. Choose a section to edit on the Sustainable Fashion Wikipedia page. To prevent ‘conflicts’ because different people are working on the same section, consider to work with about one sentence at the time. If you work on larger sections, send a quick message in the chat room to say which section you are working on. It isn’t the end of the world if more than one person edits the same section at the same time, but it will require some manual editing afterwards which won’t be much fun…!

6. Get going editing. Wikipedia is fairly intuitive and there are lots of links to help pages. Start with a small edit and build your confidence, or add one reference or link. There are no specific UCRF guidelines about what to edit other than Principle 1 of the Union of Concerned Researchers manifesto: Create an ‘activist knowledge ecology’, that is, to develop a system of knowledge about fashion sustainability that is concerned with how knowledge is organised and shared as well as the data points themselves and to direct such a system purposefully towards fostering change

6. When you publish you will be asked to describe your changes – mention briefly what your edit is about.

7. You can use the ‘Talk’ tab at the top of the Wiki page to discuss issues with the wider Wikipedia community that is interested in editing the Sustainable Fashion page.