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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

DESN5312M Sustainability and Fashion

15 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Dr Mark Sumner

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module explores the relationships between the consumer, retail, industry and society within the context of global and local sustainability challenges. The impact of the current models for the fashion industry will be explored in terms of environmental, social and ethical sustainability, whilst taking into account the role that commerce and business play within society.


The aim of the module is to introduce some of the basic concepts of sustainability to the students and use live examples to demonstrate how the fashion industry impacts on and is affected by the current and future sustainability agenda. The concept of responsible design is introduced.
This is achieved by exploring the changing landscape of the sustainability agenda over recent years, and by understanding the impacts the decisions taken by various stakeholders within the fashion industry (designers, buyers, technologists, procurement, suppliers, NGO’s government etc) have on the sustainability of their business, the local environment and communities, as well as the wider global society. The course will also explore how the fashion industry can play a role in influencing consumers, industry and society for a more sustainable future, and the implications for that future if changes to the current models are not re-designed.

Learning outcomes
Students who have successfully completed the module will be able to demonstrate the following:
- Understand some of the broad definitions of sustainability in a context of fashion(clothing), industry and society,
- An understanding of the key drivers for sustainability in the fashion industry and the wider societal drivers now and for the future and the impacts those drivers can have on the fashion industry,
- Identify the links between decision made by stakeholders within the fashion industry and the resulting potential impacts on sustainability,
- An ability to assess and critique sustainability approaches used within different organisations, industries and communication channels;
- Display an understanding of the interactions between fashion, the consumer and society on sustainability strategies.


The module will explore the global pressures that are driving the need for improved sustainability in all aspects of human activity. The definitions of sustainability will be explored by considering environmental, social, ethical and economic concerns. The impact and responsibilities attributed to the fashion industry and its associated production supply chains will be considered.
The relationship between the fashion industry and the consumer will be explored showing how the symbiotic relationship between these two groups influencing the way in which sustainability is view and developed.
The growing importance of transparency that is being driver by social media and by legislation will be considered along with the issues and challenges this creates for the industry, consumers and other organisations.
The module will also consider how changes in attitude to fashion and how fashion interacts with society can lead to new ways of working and new business models and new opportunities for the future.
The teaching will be supported by real case studies from the fashion industry and guest speakers where appropriate.
The syllabus includes group work where students will be required to work in multi-disciplinary groups to identify how an existing product or servic could be modified or replaced to improve its sustainability or be used as a tool to improve sustainability of the user/consumer/society.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours129.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- Background reading: 59 hours
- Preparation for project: 70 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be assessed through the use of:
- Formative assessment during the lecturing period
- Group report and presentation
- End of module unseen exam

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group Project3000 word group project with report and presentation40.00
Presentationgroup presentation for formative assessment0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/09/2022


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