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We Asked the World’s Top Fashion Schools: How Are You Teaching Sustainability to Tomorrow’s Designers?

ESMOD Berlin



Answers provided Prof. Friederike von Wedel-Parlow, Director of the Sustainability in Fashion MA Program at ESMOD Berlin

Is sustainability offered as a subject? In 2011, ESMOD Berlin launched an International Masters Programme – Sustainability in Fashion. The innovative programme takes a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to design positioning itself as ecologically, ethically, socially and economically sustainable. The course symbiotically unifies research, education, practice and business to inspire students to explore new solutions with critical rigour.

What year did you incorporate sustainability into the curriculum? The MA programme has been running since October 2011, but the topic is discussed and offered as part of various projects in the three-year course as well. Additionally, several graduates have included a sustainable focus in their final collection. All these activities which started before motivated to develop a full masters programme for sustainable fashion.

Are ethics and sustainability an active and growing area of interest at your school, among either faculty or students? Yes, its a highly dicussed topic for both students and faculty, we are working in a very hands-on way on new solutions in the field of design, textile, production and business. 

How do you classify ‘sustainability’ as a practice within your school? As a driver for innovation, the future of fashion.

Are there textbooks that specifically address ethics and sustainability in your school? As the whole programme is focussed on sustainability, we offer a lot of resources and literature. Also, we are very well-connected to the field and to a dense network of experts from all ends of the textile chain. In the library we have a special area for sustainability.

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