Community-driven clothing cultures offer an alternative to the dominant fashion system, emphasising sufficiency and wellbeing and reconnecting people with traditions and culture. These communities practise visible mending, craft revitalisation, and regenerative fibre production. However, these alternatives have often been fragmented, erased, eroded, and ignored. We propose to address this by building a translocal digital commons to unearth, explore, connect, and support diverse clothing communities demonstrating regenerative practices. Our goal is to contribute to the visibility and viability of alternate systems and encourage participation in them.
This is the beginnings of an online platform to enable this commons. We are looking for funders, partners, communities making fashion, and people who want to be part of an alternative clothing ecosystem. If that's you, please get in touch at email@example.com
WHY WE BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF THE COMMONS
What do we mean by the commons?
When we talk about how our economy works, we often talk about three things: the market, the government, and the consumer. An important fourth element—the commons—is often neglected. The commons is all about communities working together to take care of the resources they share, like land, water, or cultural heritage, for the benefit of everyone in the community. Unlike the market and its need for ownership, enclosures, extraction, and excess, the commons are people-led systems that promote sufficiency and care for culture, ecosystems, traditions, and wellbeing.
What are clothing commons?
In clothing commons, clothing culture exists not to serve the market, but to serve the customs, culture and needs of ordinary people. This will look different in different places and among different groups; there’s no single way to build a clothing commons. Around the world, there are communities and fashion projects that are upholding and celebrating traditional practices and others who are reimagining what fashion could be. This could mean groups that are upcycling and hosting clothing swaps, or equally those practicing regenerative community-led agriculture or preserving traditional techniques. The Common Market celebrates a world of diverse, community-rooted clothing systems.
Why do we think the fashion commons needs support?
Fashion is culture that has become entwined with capitalism. It has become an extractive industry that must grow at any cost. Fashion projects that exist within the commons don’t need growth. They exist to provide for the needs of communities and steward their collective wealth for future generations. But with little need for growth, they become hidden under the shadows of Fashion advertising. By joining together a network of clothing commons, we can move away from excess and towards sufficiency, regenerative practices, and a thriving diversity of clothing cultures. The Common Market can help connect and support these local projects, creating a space for learning and solidarity between different communities and cultures.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS AND COMMUNITIES DO WE FEATURE?
As a commons of commons, we have clear boundaries that preserve the integrity of community. These are principles and values all commoners of Our Common Market are led by, called Our Common Code.
We ask that all communities and their projects adhere to at least 8 of the 10 pillars of Our Common Code.
OUR COMMON CODE
We work with nature to protect and restore the living world
We treat fellow sentient and non-sentient beings with care and respect, avoiding any expolitation.
We respect and care for other peoples, the significance of their cultural expression and rights to dignified livelihoods.
We nurture and build community.
We collectively nurture creativity, cultures and customs relating to dress, clothing or bodily adornment.
We support a culture of reciprocity and celebrate the interconnectedness of all things.
We work towards systems that enable enough without overproducing.
We share our collective knowledge, skills, creativity and/or resources with others.
We are radically democratic and independent grass-roots systems, self-owned and self-governed.
Not for profit
We put purpose before capital accumulation and ensure surplus is fairly distributed.
WE ARE POWERED BY
Fashion Act Now (FAN) is a London-based activist group active since 2020 with international members including educators, writers, students, and others who have come together to explore possibilities for a just and regenerative fashion future. The members give talks and workshops on crafting a crisis response for transitioning away from the endless extractivism of the industrial fashion system.
Find us at FashionActNow.org