World-Class Lessons on Zero Waste

12 years ago Stephanie Rosenbloom wrote an article for New York Times that featured my then doctoral research and the class I developed for Parsons on zero waste fashion design. I’d worked at the illustrious fashion school for eight months then, and I was unprepared for the attention that followed. Less expected outcomes were getting mentioned on a gay porn blog, although if I recall correctly, in posting a photo they confused me and a well-known Finnish theatre director alsoRead more

brief thoughts on clothing rentals

A media outlet contacted me about a recent study from Finland that looked at the climate impacts of different scenarios of clothing consumption, including rentals. Here are my unedited responses, with the acknowledgment that I am an irrelevant old man shouting at a cloud at this point. While I never expect more than a sentence or two to make it into the piece (and on a rare occasion, none at all), I find these to be good opportunities to reflectRead more

land as a defining limit for fashion production

One of the more invigorating reports that I have recently read comes from the Biomimicry Institute. The Nature of Fashion makes a strong case for transitioning away from fibres made from petrochemicals, which currently represent more than 60% of the total fibre mix. The report argues that because systems inevitably leak, we should not create fibres that cannot be absorbed by biological systems. Microfibres released from polyester garments are a case in point. I particularly appreciated the report’s critique ofRead more

Dead Horse Bay

Last summer, working on Pieces of a Continent, Salla Salin and I visited places that my father had birdwatched 60 years earlier. One, Iso Huopalahti in Helsinki, had been a landfill in between my father’s visit and ours, in 1963-79. We speculated that in coming decades and centuries, sea level rise will expose and slowly wash into the sea much of the trashed though hidden contents of what is now lovely parkland. We were due to continue our collaboration onRead more

more recent thoughts on fashion and sustainability

Below are yet more responses to journalists, edited here for clarity, in addition to posts here, here and here. I can see that my escalating sense of urgency is coming across as frustration, impatience and even terseness. This is not at the journalists as such, but at our collective cognitive dissonance: we claim to know what there is to do and yet we do not do that. In fact often we do things that only further perpetuate the crisis. ReflectingRead more

Portrait: Identity and Expression

The Rest In Porn triptych will be part of ‘Portrait: Identity and Expression’ at Site:Brooklyn, opening Friday January 31, 2020. I’ve previously written about the work here and here; the project was prompted in 2013 by the suicides of three high profile porn actors. Having worked on this project in two iterations intermittently across seven years, I am now putting it to rest. May Dror, Peter and Wilfried rest in power.Read more

recent thoughts on fashion and sustainability

Often when responding to journalists (or students) via email, my rawest thoughts come to the surface. Even when those thoughts don’t make the cut to the final piece, they’re worth sharing, both for my own memory and in my hope that they trigger a reader’s thinking. Here are questions and answers from three recent exchanges with journalists, and one with high school students. The first of the articles was published in the student newspaper of The New School. — WhatRead more

readings in the twilight between hope and despair

“Extinction is a rupture in the world. Each time a species is lost it takes with it not just its genetics, but its nature, its way of being in the world. And as it does the universe is lessened.” James Bradley My intention with sharing these readings is to provoke thought, and more so, emotion that leads to action. We cannot afford to remain indifferent, placid, inert, calm. Regarding the title, hear Greta Thunberg: “And yes, we do need hope,Read more

Community Event at ArtEZ, June 5, 2019

Yesterday I participated at the ‘Community Event’ of the ArtEZ Fashion Professorship and MA Fashion Held in Common, via Skype because I have chosen to no longer fly to give presentations and workshops. This decision was a direct result of the IPCC Special Report released in October. For years I have known the hypocrisy in my work – I have been flying a lot to talk – and I am taking it on now. This is not a judgment onRead more

What we should be talking about

Below is an edited version of my response to a recent interview request on fashion waste. I realise that my PhD on zero waste fashion design (completed in 2012 and conferred in 2013) and to some extent the 2010 New York Times article sometimes put me in a time capsule for people. It’s not a problem but this post aims to give some shape to my current thinking, in a relatively concise post. I hope it helps journalists and studentsRead more