Fall 2024 Sustainable Fashion Strategy Course

Register Now for
Fall 2024

12 Weeks

3 Credits

Course Fees: $1000

No Prerequisites

Classes Start September 2024

Sustainable Fashion Strategy

This course covers the range of considerations specific to operating with a common good lens but general to every fashion business, focusing on product creation including designing for reduced impact, material sourcing for sustainability and ethics, supply chain considerations, tools and metrics by which to manage sustainability/ethics/impact in your business, brand voice and impact messaging, circular economy considerations, risk management, positive impact opportunities, best business structures for positive impact, and shifting stakeholder perspectives. Through readings, lectures, field trips, class discussion, guest speakers, and development of a sustainability focused organizational strategy, students will develop the tool set needed to function at any level of a business – from independent contributor to CEO – to support positive impact and greater systems change.

Course is fully online with synchronous classes via Zoom. Classes begin Tuesday, September 10 and run through Tuesday, December 3, 2024 from 6-9:30pm ET.

Tuition and Fees:

Fee: $1000

This represents a significant savings from the normal rate of over $3000 for a 3 credit course.

Course Details

Program Structure

Built for working professionals, this Instructor led, online, synchronous class meets Tuesday evenings from 6-9:30pm ET.

Building a new sustainably-focused fashion business, or shifting an existing business not currently managing sustainability considerations, requires a specific set of skills, considering all needs of the business from supply chain to marketing messaging. As the world changes and demands a new paradigm for operating a business – eschewing the former singular goal of profit for shareholders and replacing that with the need to serve a wide range of stakeholders – a new knowledge base, a greater flexibility and an entirely different skill set is required to succeed. Success under such a paradigm is not just doing better than before but actively doing good. Companies operating in the fashion and lifestyle space need to prove their commitment to the common good, or risk existing at all.

The classes of this course are live and interactive via Zoom, featuring guest speakers who work across a range of organizations and issues in support of a more equitable, inclusive, regenerative, and sustainable fashion system. Students who participate in the course will engage with guest speakers and in readings, projects, and activities which are assessed by the instructor resulting in a final grade for each participating student.

Past Guest Speakers Include

Meet the Course Faculty

This course is taught by GCNYC Program Director, M.S. in Sustainable Fashion Michelle Gabriel.

Michelle Gabriel is an educator, researcher, social impact and fashion sustainability strategist who speaks widely about the systems, strategies, policies and laws needed to establish widespread sustainable practices in the fashion industry. Her research investigating how value perceptions in the fashion system are shaped and built through cultural and economic systems aims to drive more equitable dynamics across societies. She is a PhD candidate at the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland.

Read Michelle’s recent Teen Vogue op-ed Climate Change Is Still Overlooked in Fashion Schools. It’s Time to Change That or academic publications.

Course Curriculum

Theme: Shared Understanding

  • Sustainability, strategy & fashion
  • Sustainable fashion & systems theory
  • Why the fashion industry needs sustainability
  • Fashion industry utopia

Theme: Understanding the Fashion System

  • Fashion industry landscape & history
  • Qualities of the fashion system

Theme: Understanding the Fashion System

  • Fashion industry structure & stakeholders
  • Fashion industry competitive landscape
  • The role of innovation

Theme: Understanding the Fashion System

  • The global fashion supply chain & structure
  • Supply chain stakeholders
  • Supply chain vs value chain

Theme: Understanding the Fashion System

  • How fashion and the fashion industry are effective & ineffective
  • Current status: Sustainability
  • Structural limitations

Theme: Fashion Economics

  • Economic sustainability
  • How is value created?
  • Fashion & capitalism
  • Veblen and fashion economics
  • Externalities

Theme: Fashion Impact Areas

  • Engaging stakeholders
  • Business case for stakeholder engagement
  • Human sustainability in the fashion system
  • Environmental sustainability in the fashion system

Theme: Fashion Impact Areas

  • Scale & scope of issues
  • Fashion innovation challenges

Theme: Tools for Systems Change

  • Changing the purpose of the fashion system
  • Mission and core values
  • Impact business model options
  • Redefining fashion
  • The role of policy

Theme: Feedback Loops

  • Consumer and corporation power
  • Overproduction & overconsumption
  • Selling & marketing Sustainably

Theme: Feedback Loops

  • Fashion’s image and inclusion problem
  • Representation
  • Exclusion structures

Theme: Moving Forward

  • Building alternative fashion systems
  • The evolving role of the fashion industry
  • Rightsizing and degrowth

Learn More About Sustainable Fashion Topics

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