The climate emergency is an existential threat to life on Earth. In the run-up to the COP26 climate change negotiations in Glasgow, UCRF underscores key themes that it sees as critical for the fashion sector moving forward into this new and unpredictable period:
Activate whole systems approaches
The most powerful responses are those that start by considering the purpose, scope, governance, goals and rules of the fashion system. UCRF advocates that the fashion system purpose is reset away from economic growth logic and towards service of Earth in order to unleash new opportunities for all species and future generations.
Scale activity to fit within Earth’s limits
As a changed system purpose for fashion is set within planetary boundaries, UCRF calls for clear commitment to planned pathways to transition to a more diverse and smaller fashion sector within 5-10 years. This is within the critical time frame of intervention proposed by the IPCC.
Question the unforeseen and very real consequences of tech-driven “disruption”
While interventions into an unsustainable status quo are needed, the wholesale celebration of “disruption” has a tendency to leave its consequences unquestioned. So far, too many cases of tech-driven “disruption” have shifted agency towards platforms, made labour invisible and have stripped unions of power. If disruption is to happen, UCRF insists more pertinent questions are asked: What populations and organizations will bear the costs of the change? Who will clean up the debris of the broken system?
Build communities of change and practice
UCRF is engaged in and with genuine alternatives to the current drives towards increased growth, extraction and concentration of power. These alternatives commit to leaving no one behind and sharing knowledges of how to act in fashion in a climate change world. UCRF invites others to join together in this task.
Live inside the questions
The work of change is a process. UCRF advocates continuously asking critical systems questions, such as who stands to gain and who will be hurt by policies and decisions, calling out the hidden agendas in order to work for lasting structural change.
Act and embody new ways of being, doing, valuing and acting
The existential threat of climate change necessitates that work is focussed on increasing the uptake of diverse ‘other ways’ in the fashion sector that break apart underlying ideologies and approaches. UCRF views that this will contribute to changing what it means to know about fashion and how to act in times of planetary emergency.
Call on courage
The work of shifting to a post-growth economy is not easy and it can be challenging and fear-inducing to stand up in the face of opposition from the status quo and ideology of unrestricted growth. UCRF stands in solidarity with all those who meet resistance in their work or who are acting for systems change in difficult circumstances and against vested interests. At this critical juncture for the climate emergency, UCRF calls on all actors to choose courage and action.