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Challenge for the Fashion Industry: Communicating Sustainability

(05/11/2014) Say what to do and do what you say! When it comes to sustainable development in the fashion industry, transparency is the key. At The Design of Prosperity conference, November 21, the fashion and textile industry gather at the School of Textiles at University of Borås to discuss how sustainability should be communicated.

"We must get away from the anonymous mass production of clothing and create greater value in every garment", says Lisbeth Svengren Holm, Professor of Fashion Management.

Speakers include, among others, the pioneer Patagonia, which from their start had a strong focus on the environment and sustainable development.

"It is not always easy in the beginning but once the process has started, transparency gives freedom", says Jill Dumain, Director of Environmental Strategy at Patagonia.

Other companies as H & M, Woolpower and IOU Project, will share their experiences and discuss the driving forces that make certain players dare to go further than others.

Representatives from the EU Commission, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and other stakeholders, will lecture on how transparency will soon become the standard for a more sustainable industry’s footprint.

More players in the textile and fashion business dare to take steps toward the communication of their social and environmental standpoint. But Simonetta Carbonaro, a professor at the School of Textiles with extensive experience in Brand Management, also thinks that today's customers demand more.

"Say what you do and do what you say! Consistency, clarity and truth are the most important factors for a brand's success. Customers are informed and critical and are not fooled by the conventionally wrapped messaging anymore. Being honest and open towards sustainable development is the only way to go in our WikiLeaks era. This is why we invited also Coop - the n.1 food retailer in Italy - to tell to the Fashion/Apparel industry, how this big Food business (13 billion in sales) made it to not only implement the mandatory products’ labelling, but to even exceed legislative regulations".

The conference will be recorded and broadcast by SVT.

SAVE THE DATE – The Design of Prosperity, 2014

Communication of sustainable fashion at the University of Borås

(06/10/2014) More companies in the textile and fashion need to take steps towards more transparency in their communication to customers about sustainable impacts. This year's The Design of Prosperity conference, raises the question of how businesses and consumers together can contribute to a more sustainable fashion and textile industry.

“The Design of Prosperity (TDP) initiative is a forum for all players involved in the construction of a healthy sustainable future by utilizing design as a vehicle not only for creating things, but for creating well-being”, says Professor Simonetta Carbonaro at the University of Borås.

Previous TDP conferences on how societal changes are bringing new demands on business and new questions about the way we consume have attracted many people to Borås. This year's conference theme will continue to highlight key issues: Communicating Fashion Sustainability: The Elephant Speaks.

"The Elephant Speaks"

"The elephant in the room" means that we know something is obvious and important, but we pretend that it is not there. At this conference we will hear how companies that are pioneers in the development of sustainability over a long time are thinking of and responding to current and future demands on increased transparency.

With new laws and requirements more actors in the textile and fashion industry need to take steps toward more direct and open communication with their customers about their environmental footprint and social responsibility. Representatives from the European Commission, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and other stakeholders, have been invited to talk on how they act to make transparency an organizing device and leverage toward a more sustainable industry. Good examples, like Patagonia, H & M, Woolpower and IOU Project, will share their experiences, and stimulate discussion about drivers that make certain players dare to go further than others.

Consumers in focus

Research in the Retail Lab at the University of Borås shows that customers are not accustomed to reflecting upon sustainability when they buy fashion products. “Transparent communication will be an essential tool toward changing that status quo. The industry has a lot to do to provide their customers with better and, above all, simple instruments, to help them make more sustainable clothing choices”, says Lisbeth Svengren Holm, professor at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås.

Time: November 21st, from 9:00 to 16:30

Location: MarketPlace Borås Arena

See the program and register on  

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