Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Slow the Fashion: Teaching Handcraft Techniques in Fashion and Textile Design in Higher Education

  • Liwen Wang (Iowa State University)
  • Ellen McKinney orcid logo (Iowa State University)
  • Huanjiao Dong (Iowa State University)


It has been found that textile and fashion industry is among the leading resource-consuming and polluting industries especially with the advent of fast fashion. Under the high pressure from increasing environmental problems in the world, a movement of slow fashion is gaining increasing attention. It is challenging fast fashion’s obsession with mass-production and globalized style and becoming a guardian of diversity and indigenous handcraft. Studies show that handcrafted items can evoke positive emotional bond between consumer and maker hence increase the value of a garment, which adds to the sustainability of the item through extended wear. For designers, handcrafting nurtures their creativity as hands are subtle, sensitive, probing and closely connected to the mind. Since designers have a lot control of products that are introduced, it is significant to ensure that fashion design students are aware of the importance of sustainable fashion, and get training on sustainable design techniques for further application. Although more and more fashion schools in the world are providing sustainability education in fashion and textile design, few have introduced sustainable design techniques such as handcrafting in class. To address this gap, a learning unit of handcraft manipulation of yarns and fabrics was developed and implemented in an undergraduate creative design studio class.

How to Cite:

Wang, L., McKinney, E. & Dong, H., (2018) “Slow the Fashion: Teaching Handcraft Techniques in Fashion and Textile Design in Higher Education”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 75(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2018
Peer Reviewed