Fashion Futuring: un modello di produzione sostenibile

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Remanufacturing Italy. L’Italia nell’epoca della postproduzione, 2020, pp. 48-61
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This research chapter investigates the current developments of sustainable fashion design in Italy. It theorises a new framework to understand alternatives to current ways of producing and consuming, in opposition to the dystopian visions of unsustainable growth of which fast fashion has been a carrier in recent decades (Payne 2019). To do this, this chapter deploys the concept of futuring (Fry, 2007, 2014), emerged in the debate of the 21st century on the role of design with respect to the themes of ecology, sustainability and social innovation. In the formulation of the design theorist Tony Fry, futuring is a strategy to give new directions (re-directing) to design interventions to respond to and address a world that has become unsustainable. The futuring approach allows to go beyond design as a product and to frame it, both in terms of individual and collective practice, as a system (Fry 2007, 2014). 'Futuring' has become a key concept also in fashion, where it is understood as a dynamic process (Payne 2019) able to negotiate between two opposing interpretations of sustainability: on the one hand an optimistic and gradual technological evolution towards a cleaner industry and, on the other, a more prudent approach to freeing fashion from the imperative of unsustainable growth of capitalism. Drawing on Fry and Payne, this chapter develops an approach to 'fashion futuring' articulated in four intersecting trajectories: 1) Do It Yourself: the 2000s saw the revival of self-production practices in the field of clothing from knitwear circles to cutting and sewing courses (von Busch 2014). These practices point to the desire to exit classic mechanisms of production and consumption, but also to re-evaluate individual creative abilities, in line with the principles of new frugalism. Historically, forms of domestic crafts such as knitting, crochet and embroidery have been recovered in a feminist perspective as examples of creativity and unpaid female work (Greer, Hackney, Rosner). More recently web 2.0 ( Gauntlett 2011), in particular websites dedicated to particular crafts, platforms that enable short supply chains (Etsy) and visual social media (Pinterest and Instagram)have expanded the possibilities of craft. 2) Future artisans: this is the title of the book (2011) by Stefano Micelli dedicated to ‘hand made’ artisan cultures and practices, which the author places at the center of the concept of Made in Italy. Micelli maintains that it is precisely the skills of artisan know-how, both in small and large companies, that make Italian manufacturing attractive at a global level. Hand made here becomes a meeting point between local and global. 3) Digital manufacturing: the advent of maker culture coincides with the desire to re-imagine production and consumption in the direction of sustainable futures, and the capacity to blur distinctions between producer and consumer. The adoption of digital technologies such as laser cutters, associated with open source software, has generated new types of fashion design. Digital manufacturing is not limited to the production of new objects, and includes also inventing different supply chains and creating new designers capable of integrating artisan know-how with digital knowledge. 4) Sustainable fashion: it has acquired a central importance at an environmental, socio-cultural and economic level and constitutes a rich pool of exemples based on the logic of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, as in the case of the invention of new fabrics that recover waste, such as orange peels (Orange Fiber), mushrooms (Neffa), milk (QMilk), algae (Algae Apparel) and agricultural residues (Crop à Porter). In this context, fashion emerges both in relation to capitalism, and as a laboratory for creative, social and political experimentation. The concept of ‘Laboratory Italy’ is used here to extend Hardt’s idea (1996) of Italy as a laboratory of political experimentation to fashion design in order to explore new areas of intersection between fashion design and forms of activism. The paper aims at developing a theoretical framework to extend ideas of ‘eco fashion’ beyond environmental sustainability (Scaturro 2008; Brown 2010); of ‘slow fashion’ as a critique of the acceleration of fashion production and consumption (Clark 2008, Fletcher 2010) and of the classic concept of ‘good and good’ (Frisa and Ricchetti 2011) which combines ethics and aesthetics. Fashion futuring expands these understandings of sustainable fashion to include initiatives ranging from the creation of circular economies (Smith, Baille, McHattie 2017) to participatory design models (Hirscher, Fuad-Luke 2013) and open design (Romano 2015). Borgherini M. et al. (a c. di) 2018, Laboratorio Italia. Canoni e contraddizioni del Made in Italy, Mimesis-DCP/IUAV. Brown, S. 2010. Eco Fashion, Laurence King. Clark, H. 2008, ‘Slow + Fashion–an Oxymoron–or a Promise for theFuture...?’, Fashion Theory, 12(4): 427-46. Fletcher, K. 2010, ‘Slow Fashion: An Invitation for Systems Change, Fashion Practice’, Fashion Practice, 2(2): 259-65. Frisa, M. L.; Ricchetti, M. (a c. di) 2011, Il bello e il buono: le ragioni della moda sostenibile, Centro di Firenze per la moda italiana. Fry, T. 2007, 'Redirective Practice: An Elaboration', Design Philosophy Papers, 5(1): 5–20. Fry, T. 2014, Design Futuring. Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice, Bloomsbury. Gauntlett, D. 2011, Making is connecting, Polity Press. Greer, B. 2013, Knitting for good. A guide to creating personal, social and political change, stitch by stitch, Roost Books. Gwilt, A.; Payne, A.; Ruthschilling E. A. (eds.) 2019, Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion, Bloomsbury. Hackney, F. 2013, 'Quiet Activism and the New Amateur', Design and Culture, 5(2): 169–93. Hirscher, A.-L.; Fuad-Luke, A. 2013, 'Open Participatory Designing for an Alternative Fashion Economy', in K. Niinimäki (a c. di), Sustainable Fashion, Aalto ARTS Books: 174–82. Micelli, S. 2011, Futuro artigiano. L’innovazione nelle mani degli italiani, Marsilio. Payne, A. 2019, ‘Fashion Futuring in the Anthropocene: Sustainable Fashion as “Taming” and “Rewilding”’, Fashion Theory, 23(1): 5-23. Romano, Z. 2015, 'Openwear Collaborative Clothing', in A. Fuad-Luke et al. (a c. di), Agents of alternatives. Re-designing Our Realities, AoA: 220–8. Rosner, D.K. 2018, Critical fabulations. Reworking the methods and margins of design, The MIT Press. Scaturro, S. 2008, 'Eco-tech fashion', Fashion Theory, 12(4): 469–88. Smith, P.; Baille, J.; McHattie, L.-S. 2017, 'Sustainable Design Futures: An open design vision for the circular economy in fashion and textiles', The Design Journal, 20(sup1): 938–47. van Busch, O. 2014, 'Hacking Fashion', in S. Yelavich, B. Adams (a c. di), Design as future-making, Bloomsbury: 47–57.
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