We expanded our horizons to connect and collaborate with Leeds’ fashion community.
At the start of this year, we collaborated with Leeds RAG- a student-led fundraising society (part of the Leeds University Union). The collaboration included talks from members of our team where we discussed the work we adhere to whilst exploring the interconnections Race and Climate have within the fashion world.
We raised awareness about the harmful damages created by fast fashion consumerism and the effects they have on the environment, including the importance of using our privileges as people from the Global North to show our international solidarity to talk about the world’s second largest polluter.
Referencing the 13th Recommendation in our talk, we acknowledged the importance of amplifying the voices of the fashion garment workers in the Global South and the unfair mistreatment they face every day whilst working in hostile environmental conditions.
The pandemic created a rise of societal awareness which mainly focused on the influence many cultural groups have on popular fashion trends. With majority of trends we see today originating from the most marginalised groups, the lack of cultural appreciation has been a topic of conversation on social media recently. We explored the many ways the students at Leeds University Union can consciously decolonise racial biases.
When discussing injustices within the fashion industry it is important to include diversity,equity and inclusion.
Linking back to the earlier segment of the article, appreciating and praising a culture for being the inspiration behind a collection of work also requires providing accessible platforms to those within the culture. Our communications worker Sarai briefly spoke about the challenges and obstacles Black and other ethnic minority groups have to go through.
Eurocentrism and it’s idea of beauty standards
The western standard of beauty is deeply rooted in colonialism, with European colonizers equating the beauty of ethnocentrism (which is still globally seen) onto Black and Brown communities. Over the past few years with the support and platforms of many social justice organisations, we’re seeing more Black and Brown led creatives destigmatize cultural attributes and facilitate diversity within the industry. Many creatives are leading the way to tell stories of people within their cultures and diasporas who’ve often been the prototype for the industries exploitative ways of taking culture identity.
In a separate conversation with a member of the RAG team, Sarai spoke about Fashion’s Racial Injustices in a deeper perspective, to view the full conversation-https://eventsleedsrag.wixsite.com/lrfs2022/post/in-conversation-with-sarai-fashion-s-racial-injustices