Friday, March 05, 2021

Denier: A conversation with Sandra Niessen

Shonagh Marshall contacted me recently to ask me to do an interview with her. A New York based curator and writer for books and fashion publications, she was once, and for many years, the curator at Somerset House in London. She has also taught the history and theory of fashion photography and is currently honing her focus to fashion sustainability, already well into her second year of interviews with people to explore the topic and boost the conversation -- and the movement. She posts her interviews, contextualized and transcribed, on her web page, which she calls "Denier, A series of conversations about fashion's relationship to people, the planet and profit". I am honoured that my ideas have become the focus of her most recent conversation, posted yesterday (4 March 2020), entitled, simply, Denier: A conversation with Sandra Niessen.   

Today she had more news for me: "Our conversation will be included in the Fashion Act Now -- which I am a part of -- booth at Conscious Fashion Campaign Discover the SDGs Now event." Note that 'Fashion Act Now' is an exciting development to push sustainability in fashion:

"We want to drive a transformation of fashion from an industry and culture that  exploits our planet's resources, to one that regenerates the natural world and supports the wellbeing of all people.​"

And the 'Conscious Fashion Campaign Discover the SDGs Now' event is a superb context for that 'Fashion Act Now' initiative from Extinction Rebellion. 

"The Conscious Fashion Campaign, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, creates high-visibility fashion event partnerships to accelerate global industry engagement to advance the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The campaign educates and mobilizes the fashion sector to action solutions for social, economic, and environmental change."

I am excited by Shonagh's energy and initiatives. The need for change is urgent. We can only accomplish it together. I am thrilled by the 'relay' that seems to be taking place, starting with my article for Fashion Theory, and subsequently my talk on the topic for State of Fashion. May this relay continue apace and have effect! 

In the back of my mind, always, is the weavers in Indonesia and their families who are suffering so terribly from poverty and a market that discriminates against them. I had to recognize the demoralizing limits of my capacity, as an anthropologist, to make the kind of significant change in North Sumatra that would assist them structurally. Their plight, and that of indigenous textile makers around the world, taught me that this can only happen at a global level. For them and for the well being of the planet as we know it and have learned to love it, we continue our struggle for a decolonial fashion that recognizes ethics and diversity. 

End the sacrifice zones!