Sandra Niessen,
Author, Teacher and Consulting Anthropologist

While ‘dress’ is a human universal, ‘fashion’ is a culturally-specific system of dress undergirded by a dominant economic system. The now ‘globalized’ Fashion system operates in line with the capitalist imperatives of growth and accumulation of profit. As such, it wreaks profound harm and must reduce by 75% – 95% to come within Earth’s carrying capacity (Fletcher and Tham 2019). Defashion is a grassroots emergency response to the industry’s inability to degrow. Defashion aims to dismantle the fashion system and replace it with a pluriverse of local, sustainable, historically and culturally relevant systems that honour values other than monetary (commons). Defashion puts wellbeing and the Planet first.

The neologism ‘defashion’ signals a paradigmatic shift towards a decolonial future in which fashion fairness goes far beyond concern for the plight of garment workers. In a defashion world, indigenous and non-fashion dress systems that have been erased by dominant, global fashion, are cherished.
© 2022, Pamela EA

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