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Promoting Sustainable Fashion and Textiles Practises: A UK-Bangladesh collaborative Project

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It is no secret anymore that the fashion industry as a whole is one of the planet’s main polluters. With an environmentally conscious generation on the rise, the pressure for change is growing daily. We live in a day and age, where we can access clothing for whatever occasion we want, for whatever price we want and from wherever we may be located. It is the 21st century, the planet is dying from climate change and pollutions, and all we seem to care about is the constant enlargement of our wardrobes. Long story short: we are the problem. Call it humans, call it capitalism, call it a disrupted system. But no change ever came from complaining, that’s why it is crucial to act now.

Based on that thought, the Manchester Metropolitan University launched a project on “Sustainable Fashion and Textile Practises in Bangladesh” in collaboration with the Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX) and BGMEA University of Fashion& Technology (BUFT). The project is led by Dr. Abu Sadat Muhammad Sayem, a digital fashion expert, from the Manchester Fashion Institute as the principal investigator in collaboration with Dr. Julfikar Haider, the co-investigator, from the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of Engineering. Professor Dr. Ayub Nabi Khan from BUFT and Dr. Abbas Uddin from BUTEX are acting as key collaborators and managing the Bangladesh component of the project at their respective institutions. Professor Dr. Md. Forhad Hossain from BUTEX, Professor Mahbub Hasan from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and  Dr. M M Alamgir Sayeed from Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) are supporting the project on advisory capacity.

The project is focused on three main areas within the overall topic of Fashion and Sustainability. Firstly, there is the aim to conduct research in the field of Zero-Waste apparel production and material sustainability. This is connected to the aim to do Bangladesh-specific research on this thematic area. Secondly, the project wants to generate impact through the promotion of research findings, specifically on zero-waste pattern cutting and material sustainability via virtual networking events. Thirdly, the final research objective is based on developing a framework for sustainable fashion and textile production in Bangladesh through the stakeholder’s participatory workshops.

The whole project focuses on exploring new ways of producing clothing more sustainably, by focusing on zero-waste techniques, the circular economy, the typical life cycle of a garment and enhancing the opportunity of networking between the two countries, situated at different ends of the globe. The project is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which is a part of the UK’s official development assistance (ODA) and addresses the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. Overall, the fund aims to maximise the impact of research and innovation to improve lives and opportunity in the developing countries.

The bi-monthly Bangladesh-based business publication “Textile Focus” is the project’s media partner. The project will also have its website soon.

Overall, all collaborators are beyond thrilled to research in this interesting field, combining fashion and engineering. This international collaboration is ready to make an impact towards sustainability in fashion and textile industry. Further details of the project can be obtained from the principal investigator Dr Abu Sadat Muhammad Sayem through email at asm.sayem@mmu.ac.uk.

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