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A Fashion System Without Getting Dressed? A Two-Strand Approach Towards Understanding How to Define and Transform a Global Complex Social-Ecological System
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, I view the global Fashion System in terms of hybridity, with the intention of developing a theoretical understanding of a sustainable fashion system. I explore a perpetuated micro-scale activity – getting dressed each day – as a driver of the fashion system. Thereby aiming to help in redefining and clarifying the dynamics of fashion as a complex social-ecological system, to inform of risks and opportunities towards sustainable fashion.

This project has two strands; Firstly, a theoretical understanding of fashion as a social-ecological system emphasizing social and abstract representations. Secondly, an action-oriented research approach for understanding how the frameworks applied in a science-business collaborative project relate to sustainable fashion and how that affects their work. For this, I draw on Critical Realism as meta-theory, where the real world consists of both material and non-material stratified layers.  Dividing the fashion system in four stratified layers; physical, material interaction, socio-economic and culture, allows the bridging of theory and practice. I argue that three concepts hybridity, modernity and fashion are essential for visioning a future sustainable fashion system and that key social-ecological resilience theories are limited for weaving them together.

I found that transformations towards sustainable fashion cannot be reduced to merely socio-technical solutions, as individual’s everyday perpetuated activity of getting dressed is linked to global negative environmental impacts. In the science-business collaborative project, key challenges were identified: inadequate amount of time, and absence of knowledge regarding the fashion industry and fashion theory as well as absence of critical reflections. Finally, I found that the concepts of affordances provide a useful link between human, ‘things’ and the abstract entities created through the value chains of the fashion system. Thus, I propose that affordances could be developed as a tool linking sustainability science, design studies and economic business models, enhancing knowledge in science-business collaborations. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Fashion, Complex social-ecological system, Consumption, Critical Realism
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148161OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-148161DiVA, id: diva2:1149889
Presentation
2017-10-12, 237, Kräftriket 2B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-03-03 Created: 2017-10-17 Last updated: 2018-03-03Bibliographically approved

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Abstract(516 kB)17 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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Language
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Output format
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