As the world’s largest production and export country of textiles and clothes (Market Research, 2012), the continued focus on environmental and social sustainability has a major impact on China’s textile and garment industry. In a recent presentation at the Annual Conference of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) Conference, the China National Textile and Apparel Council states that in spite of improvements, i.e. within energy and water savings: “China's textile industry faces urgent and arduous tasks and only by deepening adjustment of industrial structure and fastening transformation of development modes, could we fundamentally solve the internal challenges and resolve external crisis.” (2012, 4)
As part of the MISTRA Future Fashion Project (MFF) Project 1: Changing Market and Business Models and Project 3: Interconnected Design Thinking and Processes for Sustainable Textiles and Fashion find it essential to engage with Chinese stakeholders, to explore how to overcome challenges of sustainability through cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The project TED’s TEN in China, centers on the following three phases:
The team will use the TED’s TEN strategies as a starting point for engagement and exploration with local fashion designers, manufacturers, and factory workers. The aim of the fieldwork is to engage local stakeholders in a conversation around sustainability and build a “map of sustainability” representing the fashion and textile industries in China. According to the China National Textile and Apparel Council, science and technology advancement is the foundation for sustainable development in China textile industry (2012). Moreover the Council puts emphasis on dialogue and knowledge exchange to increase understanding and mutual trust and create cooperation opportunities - and in this way change the industry towards sustainability. What can MFF learn from China and how can we strengthen collaboration on challenges of sustainability across boarders?
The field research will include ethnographic and creative methods for data collection and exploring the context, i.e. semi-structured interviews with stakeholders from the Chinese textile and fashion industry and academia and questionnaires; creative methods for individual documentation including journal, photographs, and sketches, and cultural probes. Moreover, PhD student Clara Vuletich and Professor Rebecca Earley will conduct a Shanghai Shirt Workshop, as part of Vuletich’s PhD Project and Professor Earley’s Top 100 Project respectively.
The research is made possible by the generous financial support of MFF Strategic Fund, CBS Sustainability Platform, and the Chelsea College of Art Research Department.
Market Research (2012) Research Report on China’s Textile Industry, 2012. http://www.marketresearch.com/China-Research-and-Intelligence-Co-Ltd-v3627/Research-China-Textile-7058589/
Tiankai, W. (2012) Sustainable Development of China Textile Industry and Win-Win Cooperation in Global Textile Industry. China National textile and Apparel Council, Nov 5, 2012. ITMF Hanoi Conference.