I signed this manifesto because …

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About the Union / Manifesto

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. Here is an inspiring selection from recently joined members:

“We join together and amplify this movement from a position of genuine concern, free from industry bias and dominant paradigms.”

“We have only a limited time to make radical changes to the fashion industry, and therefore we need a coordinated effort to do so.”

“I advocate for a radical change in this unjust completely unethical system that has dominated and pushed humanity towards a state of complete unworthiness. This fierce proponent of obsolescence has the potential to be a critical change maker towards a positive and regenerative system where all life thrives. I have advocated such change since the start of my fashion career at the age of 14 and 31 years later I forge forward to see it happen.”

“There is no other way and time is so short.”

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UCRF – Member of the Month – Namkyu Chun

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Member of the Month

UCRF is running a ‘Member of the Month’ feature on this blog, where a member, selected at random from the membership database, is sent five questions to give us all an overview of our members. Our fourth participant is Namkyu Chun.

  • How would you sum up your research / practice?

My name is Namkyu Chun (Doctor of Arts, MFA in Transdisciplinary Design). Throughout my cross-disciplinary experiences (i.e. fashion design/merchandising, journalism, non-profit fundraising, and design consulting) in multicultural contexts from East Asia to North/South Americas and the Nordic region, I have been interested in critically engaging with discourses on design practices and questioning the social role of the (fashion) design profession. Upon noticing the absences of both fashion designer’s voices in design research and the aspect of designing in fashion research, I have investigated distinctive features of fashion design that embrace meaning production of fashion and material production of clothes (see my doctoral dissertation). By rediscovering the ignored tradition of dressmaking due to social prejudices, my research aimed at recovering the social role of the fashion design profession that has been overshadowed by the image-making tendency from the industry. Further expanding my interest, currently, I am working as a postdoctoral researcher for the EU funded research project Creative Practices for Transformational Futures (CreaTures) while being involved in interdisciplinary education at Aalto University.

  • How do you address fashion and sustainability in your work?

Creative arts and design practices, including fashion practice, have already demonstrated transformational potential in the area of social cohesion and environmental citizenship in many ways. However, they are often fragmented, poorly resourced and badly understood. With the CreaTures project, I am interested in discovering the power of existing yet often hidden creative practices to (re)orient the world towards social and ecological sustainability through addressing ways of being and lifestyles.

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UCRF – Member of the Month – Vinit Jain

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Member of the Month

UCRF is running a ‘Member of the Month’ feature on this blog, where a member, selected at random from the membership database, is sent five questions to give us all an overview of our members. Our third participant is Vinit Jain.

  • How would you sum up your research/practice?

I am a designer, and research has been an intrinsic part of my life. My journey as a researcher in sustainability started over a decade ago with my quest to understand and know this term and field, which led me to learn the concepts of sustainable design and Sustainable Development. This long journey continued to reinforce my understanding that fragmented views lead to contradictions and the fixed ones hinder exploration. Besides, we ought to follow the natural system as we are a part of it. My latest significant research in the field of sustainability and fashion focused on the value maximization opportunities from resources and the development of a circular business model that supports realignment of the current waste generating Apparel Consumption System (ACS) with the natural system.

  • How do you address fashion and sustainability in your work?

Fashion—a psychological need that has been exploited and used to accelerate consumption for economic growth which in turn has made sustainable fashion an oxymoronic phrase. I try to exercise my ability to see the things as they are, without any intrinsic or learnt biases and then connect the fragments to propose improved solutions to make sustainable fashion a reality. We all know that the fragmented solutions and quick fixes often lead to broader issues, and I try to stay away from them as much as I can while continuing to be a part of the system that is not yet regenerative.

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A question from the glossary working group

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Activities / Blogroll

What do we call a word glossary with an aim to change systems?

Words. We use them so freely. We use them every day to communicate. But words are not mere descriptors. They are part of a journey that indicates our history and has a power to foretell our future. Language matters. Words affect us. They empower us. They educate us. They have the power to trigger change. We create a vocabulary with these words. 

Since April this year, some of our members have  taken the task of compiling a living word book of terms we use in fashion every day. Though the primary language of this compendium is English, we are delving into the origin of such words, in different native languages used by our members too. Do share your comments on this task. 

What would we call the product of an exercise of this nature …?

UCRF Companion to Systems Change 
UCRF Companion of Fashion Keywords
UCRF Keywords of Systems Change
Clavis: UCRF Companion of Systems Change in Fashion*
*Clavis – a key or glossary serving as an aid to interpretation

Vote on these names or suggest one yourself.

PayUp Fashion Launch

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Associated events / Blogroll

UCRF Board is happy to draw the UCRF membership’s attention to a recently (soon to be) launched campaign, PayUp Fashion. UCRF supports PayUp Fashion because it outlines a new roadmap for worker engagement, developed by the workers themselves.

because it outlines a new vision for the fashion industry that centers garment worker voices, elevates worker rights as the centerpiece of fashion’s rebuild, and lays out concrete, actionable steps for change developed by the workers themselves.

PayUp Fashion is the next phase of the highly successful #PayUp campaign, which won $20 billion for garment workers from brands and retailers who cancelled orders since March. This new phase of the campaign amplifies the often overlooked and dismissed voices of workers and demands that brands and retailers not just #PayUp, but also commit to living wages, transparency binding agreements, and to ensuring that workers have a seat at the table when supply chain issues are discussed and negotiated.  

In doing so, PayUp Fashion displaces the dominance of industry-led marketing for sustainability and broadens the public’s understanding of what a transformed fashion industry could look like and how to get there.

UCRF has long questioned the capacity of brand lead actions to truly transform the fashion sector.  Who better than the workers themselves, to develop a new roadmap for worker engagement?

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