On 7th March 2020, the Connecticut Local Assembly took place. Video and audio recording and other materials of the event are now available here. Thank you to all those who organised and participated!
The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion’s founding document is its manifesto. This, our rallying call to like-minded individuals, invites people to support the Union by putting their name to the manifesto and saying why these actions matter. Their responses speak volumes. Last year, shortly after founding the Union, we published an initial selection. Here is an inspiring selection from more recently joined members:
“My interest, passion and occupation is in sustainable fashion. I am very concerned about animal welfare, pollution of and depletion of the natural environment, human population explosion and its impact upon the Earth’s finite resources and finely balanced natural systems, and ultimately the survival of the biosphere including human and all species. To be involved in the endeavours of UCRF, even if only by way of membership would be a great honour.”
“Our relationship with clothes – their design, production, use, care and disposal – needs to change fundamentally. Sustained collaborative effort is necessary to lead the debate, provoke action and make the need for change vastly more apparent to more people more quickly. I’d like to join with others in this work.”
On 29th February, a UCRF Local Assembly took place in Melbourne, Australia. The group sent the following list of keywords as part of its Communiqué back to the Union at large and a summary, available to download as a pdf. Much gratitude to the Melbourne participants and to Ania and Alia for facilitating!
KEYWORDS, group 1:
End of Capitalism; Down scale/ Slow Down; De-Growth; Movement; Leadership- charisma and power; Government Policy – advocacy; Changing perceptions.
KEYWORDS, group 2:
Values; Planet and people put ahead of profit; Symbiocene; Atonement; Decolonialisation; Complete Animal Liberation; Feminisms; Mutual Responsibility.
KEYWORDS, group 3:
Localism; New roles and Practices; Disruption of current system; Multi- stakeholder participation- beyond fashion silos; Inclusivity; Food waste as innovative materials.
All photographs by Dylan Birchall.
Some days on the digital battlefields are tougher than others. This year, the engaged contributors to the UCRF Wikipedia Editathon ran into some over-zealous encyclopedia editors in a struggle over correct citation forms and phrasing. However, as the dust settled, substantive improvements are now abundant, not least more references to peer-reviewed research and links to new sources.
As a contributor, one has to accept that Wikipedia is a work-in-progress, especially sections on rapidly evolving and controversial fields such as fashion. However, as the site is the first go-to source for people curious of topics new to them, Wikipedia remains one of the most important databases for connecting to scientific research. We would encourages members to add references and links to research articles and other sources on Wikipedia, to better help disseminate a more nuanced and science-based debate around sustainability. If you feel sources are missing on Wikipedia, please add them to help move the field forward!
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.”