Over the course of the past 2 months I have learned quite a bit about sustainability and fashion. I had no idea of what to expect. I come from an engineering background, so I was interested in diversification. This helped me to understand aesthetic design much better just form the peripheral material. I learned part of the philosophy of this field. I found it to be an interesting experience. I found myself lost in certain spots of the course. I did not understand many of the industry references. For example I did not understand the references to rayon. I’m still not entirely sure what the issue is. I found that much of the references would have benefited from a bit more detail for the non-DHM students.
I found a new appreciation for sustainability from this class. Before I found many environmentalist arguments to be subpar. I found the origins of major climate activist organizations troubling. Many were started by former soviet politicians, and so the movement always stank of Marx. After reading some of the articles and literature in this class that come from an area outside of the centralized economic sphere, I found myself seeing better solutions to issues that were real. I also found that this issue did not just belong to misanthropes who found sub-species of sub-species more important than human beings. There were sensible arguments with a people first attitude. A range of voices were shown to me through this class.
I found that the term wicked problem is an issue unique to the social aspect of life. Most issues have fairly definitive and concrete methods of resolution. However, the social sphere does not. You constantly risk violating one group’s rights. For example, pollution in the 3rd world is a huge issue, but do we really just strip them of their sovereignty?
What about the issue with Nike? They donate to black charities and give these social movements millions in free press. However they rely on wage, and in some cases literal, slaves to make their products in China. There is also the issue with many areas in China with open segregation against black people. Not to mention the environmental impact that China has on the world. What do we do? If the US was to tell Nike they cannot use China, then they will just leave the US and sell to the rest of the word. There is not really a way to win in this situation and the hypocrisy of these major corporations will stand. I’ve found through this class it is often a question of ‘how much?’.
Despite this new information I still believe that the only place change can be meaningfully and morally implemented is on the individual level. For example I don’t buy Nike if I can help it. I don’t over consume when possible. I try to be an example of what I want the world to be. I do my best to educate myself and those that wish to know what I know. I have found that these are the best ways to influence change.