Cultural Preservation for Sustainability in the fashion industry

Sustainability is necessary for survival, be it the survival of our physical planet and natural environment or that of our cultural societies. Many sustainable practices are in and of themselves linked to culture and circumstance.

Cultural sustainability is an umbrella term informally referred to as the fourth pillar of sustainable development.

CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY means transmitting/supporting the knowledge transfer of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions to future generations and fashion is an extraordinary medium for achieving this noble goal.
Cultural sustainability in fashion is a relatively new concept. In the past decade, the relationship has been more appropriative than appreciative but the discourse is changing and with it, behaviours have to change as well.

The culture of the people ensures that the fashion accessories and clothes meet certain goals or objectives. Culture also influences design and fabric selection. Traditional textile craftsmanship is a living example of slow-paced, resource mindful and socially sustainable production.

In relation to sustainable development the concept is understood from at least two perspectives:

(i) it refers to the sustainability of cultural and artistic practices and knowledge, including, without limitation, identity formation and expression, cultural heritage conservation, aspects related to cultural continuity;

(ii) it also refers to the role of cultural traits and actions as determinants of sustainable societies and sustainable living.

Cultural sustainability in fashion’ refers to:

(i) transmitting or supporting the knowledge transfer of traditional textile knowledge and cultural expressions to future generations by integrating traditional craftsmanship in contemporary fashion and textile supply chains;

(ii) acknowledging, respecting, protecting and continuing inherited culturally embedded sustainability orientated traits and actions reflected in sustainable design, sustainable production and consumption patterns.

Monica Moisin – Medium
Kangas, A., Nancy, D. and De Beukelaer, C. (2017) Introduction: cultural policies for sustainable development, International Journal of Cultural Policy


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