Fashion Futuring: A Speculative Design Toolkit for Transitioning Fashion Towards Sustainability


Fashion Futuring is a speculative design methodology created to spark imagination and promote action towards sustainable futures. By intertwining fashion, fiction, sustainability and culture, Fashion Futuring provides fashion stakeholders interested in futures an actionable tool to engage in a more long-term, empathetic, humane, and environmentally conscious attitude towards fashion.

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Image: Visual Identity created by Beatriz Veríssimo and Joao Pedro Freitas
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  • Today, the collision between fashion and futures is rooted on the idea of 'the next' short-term trends and the desire for newness despite the costs for the planet and the future of humankind. The fashion industry has recognised the need for transitioning to sustainability but this effort is still strongly focused on technological developments as a magical solution for the current crisis. Although tech-driven solutions are welcome, expected and needed, purely technocratic initiatives are not enough to bringup to life a desirable and liveable futures. One of the biggest challenges is still how to include cultural shifts in such endeavour.

  • Fashion Futuring is a design-led methodology that unites fashion, fiction, culture, futures to promote a values-driven and systemic change towards sustainability. Materialised into an actionable toolkit, Fashion Futuring explores possible relations between fictional objects and systems to spark imagination and help fashion stakeholders to create concrete and collective strategies to transition to sustainable futures. Fashion Futuring proposes a radical inversion in fashion futures practices, setting back from short-term trends and predictive futures based on replacement of styles, economic growth and industrial productivity to embrace a more long-term, values-driven, empathetic, collective, humane, and environmentally conscious position.

  • Fashion Futuring was tested with designers, students, fashion forecasters, and general public audiences between April 2021 and June 2022. Feedback from participants led to the conclusion that Fashion Futuring has the potential to inaugurate a new way of thinking about fashion and futures beyond next-season trends by helping multiple stakeholders to think and act together in transitioning towards sustainability. The Fashion Futuring toolkit can be freely downloaded and adopted by any fashion company interested in creating new visions and concrete strategies for building better futures. As the toolkit is free of charge it is impact could reach a wide audience.

  • The Fashion Futuring toolkit consists of a set of seven steps and a user manual that permits anyone working in the fashion industry to use and adapt it to any particular circumstances. The final PDF of the Toolkit is in a final layout stage and can be downloaded through the project's website. The hard copy is under development and will be ready by the end of June 2023. ** Beatriz Verissimo and Joao Pedro Freitas are not authors of the Fashion Futuring methodology but were responsible for the design of the toolkit Visual Identity and its website. ** The Mural Template version updated as a pdf was designed by the author. ** This project is part of a PhD practice-based research conducted in the school of Fashion &Textlies at RMIT University. This project was funded by RMIT ATN LATAM Research Scholarship.