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Community and Collaboration in Fashion and Textiles Practice and Education

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2022) | Viewed by 11323

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
School of Fashion, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
Interests: sustainable fashion systems; sustainable fashion micro-small enterprises (MSE); multi-disciplinary collaboration; sustainable design and tools; system design; biodesign

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Guest Editor
School of Fashion & Textiles, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
Interests: sustainable fashion systems; interspecies collaboration; paper clothing and textiles; biodesign; critical fashion pedagogy; indigenous knowledge systems
School of Fashion & Textiles, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
Interests: fashion education for sustainability; critical fashion pedagogy; transformative learning and teaching; sustainable fashion systems, collaboration

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The fashion industry as we know it today functions as a system within which people are encouraged to work in institutional and creative silos. The production process, for the most part, is a closely guarded one, whereby the manner through which resources become products demands greater transparency. This same process exists not only within the production realm but extends into the practice of fashion and textiles education. The average citizen has little to no knowledge of the sites and conditions of production, and the producer likely has a similar level of knowledge of what happens to their products after purchase; educational institutions also know little about how fashion is taught and learned across other institutions globally. This lack of awareness among all the various stakeholders within fashion perpetuates a system that favours hierarchical power structures; these hierarchical structures dominate in the fashion industry—producer and consumer, luxury and everyday, exclusive and inclusive, humankind and nature, student and teacher, designer and atelier staff. These systems are outdated, and radical new ways of thinking are emerging to counteract these old ways of thinking and working. These prioritize and valorize collective, collaborative, and community-based thinking and approaches to design and pedagogy as a means of promoting sustainability in the fashion and textiles industry.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to invite researchers and practitioners in the fashion and textiles disciplines to speculate and reflect on collaboration and community-based models for practice, which contribute toward promoting and achieving a greater understanding of what sustainable practice can be.

We encourage researchers to consider the dynamics of place and time in relation to collaborative and community-based models for practice. We welcome both traditional paper submissions that contribute to theoretical and critical frameworks, as well as reports from practitioners who can evidence the potential of a critical praxis.

We invite submissions that consider the following lenses in which entrenched power hierarchies can be disrupted in favor of collaborative systems:

— Social: Consumer- or citizen-led systems of production; feminist relationality studies; communities of co-creation; community-based projects; community-based traditional or indigenous craft practices and knowledge systems; small-scale collaborative practices; commons and the sharing economy; DIT (do-it-together); participatory practice or co-design; relationality and pluriverse;

— Educational: Collaborative approaches to fashion and textiles education for sustainability; digital learning experiences; cross-institutional relationships; cross-discipline projects; cross-program learning experiences;

— Technological: Interspecies collaboration, biodesign, biohacking, and disruption of the human–nature hierarchy and binary; co-creation, co-design, collaborative design;

— Speculative: Radical approaches to learning and teaching for sustainability; rapid responses to changes brought about by the global pandemic; future material and form; experimental approaches or outcomes.

‘While the capitalist market is based on self-interest and driven by material gain, the Social Commons is motivated by collaborative interests and driven by a deep desire to connect with others and share. If the former defends property rights, caveat emptor, and the search for autonomy, the latter promotes opensource innovation, transparency, and the search for community.’ (Rifkin, 2014)

A review of research literature illustrates that neither education theory nor design theory has given adequate consideration to the advancement of appropriate collaborative frameworks to enable fashion to respond to the social and environmental challenges of the future.

Dr. Anika Kozlowski
Dr. Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran
Dr. Kate Sala
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • community-led practice
  • co-creation
  • speculative design propositions
  • fashion and textiles education
  • fashion and textiles design

Published Papers (1 paper)

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24 pages, 6434 KiB  
Towards Circular Fashion: Design for Community-Based Clothing Reuse and Upcycling Services under a Social Innovation Perspective
by Duan Wu, Mingyu Zhuang, Xinni Zhang and Yuheng Zhao
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 262; - 23 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 9565
With the rise of the circular economy, recycling, and upcycling is an emerging sustainable system in the fashion industry, emphasising a closed loop of “design, produce, use, and recycle”. In this context, this paper will explore community-based approaches to scale up clothing reuse [...] Read more.
With the rise of the circular economy, recycling, and upcycling is an emerging sustainable system in the fashion industry, emphasising a closed loop of “design, produce, use, and recycle”. In this context, this paper will explore community-based approaches to scale up clothing reuse and upcycling under a social innovation perspective. This study aims to establish community-based practice models, which contribute toward promoting a greater understanding of sustainable fashion and achieving collaborative cocreation frameworks for community stakeholders. This paper, therefore, takes a social innovation perspective to conduct design studies helping with the technical (problem-solving) and cultural (sense-making) barriers that clothing reuse and upcycling face. The research was conducted in the context of the Shanghai community, and a large amount of first-hand research data were obtained through field research, expert and user interviews, and participatory workshops. Finally, this research establishes a platform proposal which combines strategic service design and practical toolkit design. It is a new community-based service model highlighting a significant advancement in the degree of collaboration and cocreation in traditional community service models. Additionally, it dramatically demonstrates the potential of socially innovative design thinking in promoting circular fashion and the closed-loop fashion system. Full article
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