The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (UCRF) was formed in 2018 by Kate Fletcher, Lynda Grose, Timo Rissanen and Mathilda Tham (in alphabetical order).
The formation of the Union was brought about by the realization that over the last thirty years sustainability in fashion has been an industry-led movement and as such, has been constantly framed within business, without asking questions about the nature of business itself.
We recognized that this has severely narrowed approaches to fashion and sustainability, has widened the divide between commerce and the capacities of nature to support commercial activity and has resulted in more, not less, degradation of clothing makers and the earth.
We questioned if business was truly capable of making the changes necessary to transform the industry and saw a need to steer a smarter better debate about fashion and sustainability.
We also recognized that researchers’ tradition of: seeking out truth; critical discourse; full disclosure; ontological thought, was desperately needed, and that researchers were better equipped to hold trust for the common good and the sector more broadly (of which the industry is one part).
We aim to provide language, action and modes of working that are precise in their critical identification of issues and open ended in their responses, rather than muted by corporate risk analysis and closed to all but that which is actionable within the current sector.
The name of the organization was inspired by the Union of Concerned Scientists, formed in 1969 in the USA, which fights misinformation, defends science, communicates with the media, the public and decision makers, and mobilizes its supporters to advocate for change.
Our manifesto embodies our full intention for founding this Union.
We are researchers and fashion practitioners focusing on fashion and sustainability, and we engage with other researchers, policy makers, the media, civil society, campaigning groups as well as business.
UCRF is funded by its members and is fully independent.