Launching today: A new report co-authored by me!
Fashioning The Future: Fixing the fashion industry for workers and the climate is a deep dive into fashion and degrowth from War On Want. We know that the fashion industry is a disaster built on human misery and climate catastrophe, and that it belongs in the past as a relic of just how bad capitalism was - so it's been great to spend time envisioning the alternative.
At the heart of this report are the tens of millions of workers in fashion supply chains and the fact that a just transition can and must be done without sacrificing Global South countries and workers. We put the chapter What About The Jobs? right at the start of the report as it is the question that rightly comes up whenever a conversation about dismantling fashion gets going. I'm really pleased to say that a great interview with Jason Hickel helped shape this chapter's explanation of why people work, why the price of clothes is political, what we are producing clothes for, and how we could stop overproduction and just make what we actually need.
Moving away from destructive, wasteful production means thinking up new uses for the 12 billion tons of raw materials, 822 million hectares of land, and 188 million person-years of labour that is extracted from the Global South to the Global North every year. In a single year, this is worth US$10.8 trillion – an amount of money that could end extreme poverty globally 70 times over. What might happen if all of these resources were put to different use? How about improving housing infrastructure, building ecological transport systems, energy network transformation, forest and ecosystem restoration, meeting human care needs, building flood defences, pollution clean-up...
Another aim of Fashioning The Future is to place the question of Land at the centre of the discussion around fashion and degrowth and to show that decolonisation is not a question of replacing industry leaders, but of returning stolen land and resources. To this end there are two superb essays in this report: Land as Kin by Shawkay Ottmann and Pakistan: Land struggles by Ayesha Ahmad. Both of these essays shine a vital anti-colonial light on the fashion industry.
I was keen to co-author this report as Fashioning The Future is not about tinkering around the edges, or rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, it is about fundamentally dismantling a destructive, extractive system. To do this we must end the artificial divide between ‘workers’ and ‘planet’ that persists in fashion activism.
I hope Fashioning The Future will encourage people to take radical action that goes far beyond shopping differently. To change fashion we must tackle debt cancellation, climate reparations, fair taxation, living wages and legally-binding regulations for powerful corporations.
Please have a read and a share, and thank you for your support.
In solidarity, Tansy.
p.s. What is Degrowth?
As an idea, degrowth critiques the capitalist drive to seek growth no matter the devastating cost to people or planet.
As a movement, degrowth is calling for societies, both local and global, to prioritise social and ecological wellbeing instead of corporate profit, over-production and excess consumption.
Rather than aiming to reduce all forms of production, degrowth is specifically about reducing less-necessary forms of production and is targeted at rich Global North countries, as those most responsible for driving the environmental damage and the climate crisis.