Net Zero as a catalyst in fashion micro and small enterprises

17 May 2023

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Professor Dilys Williams, 

Professor Dilys Williams

Professor of Fashion Design for Sustainability London College of Fashion and Founder of Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Dr Mila Burcikova, 

Dr Mila Burcikova

Researcher at Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion

Professor Sandy Black

Professor Sandy Black

Professor of Fashion & Textile Design and Technology at London College of Fashion

Contributing to a wellbeing economy in the UK

This report identifies examples of work taking place across three levels of change - social, ecological and economic wellbeing - that could act as pilots in and beyond the fashion sector. The findings suggest that efforts to operate more sustainably can encourage an expansion of creativity and business distinction. Likewise, design entrepreneurs who ground their creative practice in the context of the wellbeing economy are developing operational practices that align with that creative ambition; meaning operational (putting their own house in order) and conceptual sustainability (making and influencing change in society) can be mutually reinforcing. This paper explores the opportunities to expand on such examples and to link them to the fashion and sustainability policy landscape.

This will also help identify ways to lift the current inhibitors of a UK wide expansion of the contribution the sector can make to sustainability goals, with specific reference to a just transition of the fashion sector to net zero emissions, understood as achieving net zero in ways that are as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.

The report seeks to contribute to shifts in how fashion entrepreneurialism is viewed by demonstrating the viability of connecting environmental, social and business goals and relating them to sustainability cultures. The recommendations of the paper are aligned to sector and wider environmental policy and industry-related goals with an ambition to inform and accelerate a fashion wellbeing economy.


Image by Matthew Smith via Unsplash