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 ninth participant is Anupama Pasricha.
> How would you sum up your research / practice?
My research, teaching, advocacy, and design focus on systems and holistic thinking. It spans from sustaining self, community, and planet. This article gives a glimpse of my design work. In another research, I used 3D printing as a tool to create zero-waste designs. This research followed design as a research paradigm to apply zero-waste principles to 3D printing to ensure sustainable applications of 3D technology in the apparel and fashion industry. I also serve as an advisor to a few small companies to help them become more sustainable. Serving as the Executive Director, Educators For Socially Responsible Apparel Practices (ESRAP) has been a rewarding experience as ESRAP has a positive impact. It continues to inspire me.
> How do you address fashion and sustainability in your work?
I address fashion and sustainability as an area of opportunity to change the world. I believe that fashion leads the way to bring cultural shifts and change in society. I incorporate SDGs in the discussion and focus on critical areas: justice & equity (social), and climate change, resource insecurity & circularity (environment), consumption ( I published a resource for slow consumption-See attached), and advocate for profit for sustainable brands & businesses.
As the department chair, I led the department’s curriculum transformation. Sustainability is woven throughout the curriculum and operations in the fashion department at St. Catherine University. I teach a capstone course, Sustainable Product Development, in which students are guided to apply their learning to product development. I also teach fashion and sustainability through an environmental justice lens for the university’s core curriculum. My students read, research, design, and write about different topics in sustainability. Recently my department also launched an Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability Studies at . We hope that it will create a meaningful opportunity for more students to learn and resolve problems in the world.
> What are the conflicts you have encountered around fashion and sustainability in your work?
- We teach sustainability, and students graduate feeling empowered. But when they start working in the industry, sustainability often takes a back seat as young professionals are trying to meet the bottom line or a timeline to perform in their job role.
- Fashion is all about change, whereas sustainability is more related to a constant. It is always hard to maintain a balance where change is grounded within sustainable choices.
- As a fashion professor, I feel constant anxiety and pressure to look like one, which sometimes pushes me to consume more than what I need.
- The conflict between need and want is a constant battle.
- Our way of being and lifestyles are highly unsustainable; therefore, it is impossible to be 100% sustainable in any choice.
- There is a clear intent to be better and sustainable, but there may not be a straightforward path that may lead to desired action & impact.
> What do you consider the key sources and cases when it comes to fashion and sustainability?
Bloomsbury ESRAP Fashion Business case studies, Ellen McArthur Foundation Case Studies, Conscious Chatter Podcast, Mindful Businesses Podcast;
> Could you recommend some less known sources or cases you think should be more widely shared?
- All we can save, Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson
- How to avoid a climate disaster by Bill Gates
- No one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thunberg
- “Cows Save the Planet,” by Judith D. Schwartz
- “Farmacology,” by Daphne Miller, M.D.
- “The Soil will Save Us,” by Kristin Ohlson
- “ReFashioned,” by Sass Brown
- “Overdressed,” by Elizabeth L. Cline
- The green wardrobe guide by Beth Fiteni
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carlson
- The population bomb by Paul Ehrlich
- Cradle to cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
- Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered by E.F. Schumacher
- Road to survival by William Vogt
- “Naked Fashion,” by Safia Minney
- Making jeans green by Paulina Szmydke-Cacciapalle
- Fugitive denim by Rachel Snyder
- Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas
- Unraveled: The life and death of a garment by Maxine Bedat
- The minimalist, 2021
- The true Cost, 2015
- China Blue, 2005
- The Climate Change Denial Industry 2011
- Environmental, Social and Economic Issues with Textiles 2009
- A plastic ocean, 2016
- 13th, 2016
- A killer bargain, 2006
- Ethics [electronic resource] : what is right?
- Fenceline: A company town divided
- Fighting for the right to a healthy environment: Ada Lockridge and Ron Plain
- Aldo Leopold-His life and thought 1983
- American revolutionary : the evolution of Grace Lee Bogg, 2013
- Black diamonds
- Blue gold, 2009
- Breaking the Wall of Misleading National Indicators [electronic resource] : How Economics
Can Measure Real Progress, 2011
- Brownfields, community involvement, and smart growth 2004
- The Biofuel Myth : Harsh Realities in the Developing World 2, 2009
- Crossing the stones: a portrait of Arne Naess 1992
- David vs. Monsanto [electronic resource] : Insights into Genetic Manipulation 2009
- The Earth, The City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race 2006
- Elemental 2013
- Flow: for love of water c2008
- Food Superhighway 2009
- Homeland : four portraits of Native action
- Native American Communities and Climate Change 2012
- Human cost behind bargain shopping 2005
Thank you very much for your insights Anupama!