The I-Prac Event October 17th 2023

There’s something about the way Professor Martina Glomb approaches sustainability and textile innovation that resonates deeply with me. It’s not just about her expertise or her impressive background as a pattern cutter for Vivienne Westwood. It’s her vision with the ‘Use-Less’ organisation that truly stands out, advocating for a world where fashion and textiles tread lightly on our planet.

This vision was palpable during the recent event in Hannover, led by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The gathering wasn’t just another academic conference; it was a melting pot of ideas and innovations, stretching the boundaries of what we understand by ‘sustainability’.

The event wasn’t confined to the walls of a conference hall. We embarked on a tour of Hannover, a city that has rebuilt and redefined itself, much like the textile industry is attempting to do. This tour wasn’t just about sightseeing. It was a lesson in transformation and resilience, qualities that are essential in our journey towards sustainable fashion.

The focus then shifted to the heart of the matter: the ‘Use-Less’ organisation’s role in driving change. Professor Glomb’s brainchild is more than an entity; it’s a movement, championing the idea that less can indeed be more. The conference was a testament to this philosophy. There were discussions about waste reduction, the importance of human rights in the supply chain, and the potential of circular economy models. These conversations weren’t just theoretical; they were grounded in practical examples and real-world applications.

One particularly striking moment was when we were confronted with a pile of waste T-shirts from a local marathon. It was a visual representation of the daunting task ahead. Yet, the mood wasn’t one of despair but of determination. Innovators and thinkers, are turning what many see as waste into valuable resources through upcycling.

Another highlight was delving into the world of regional wool production. Here, the conversation was about balance – finding that sweet spot between control and compliance, between the local and the global. It was a reminder that in our quest for sustainable textiles, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

The event wasn’t just about listening and learning. It was interactive, a chance to engage with ideas and people. The Parkour session, a kind of intellectual obstacle course, was a brilliant way to explore concepts like waste management, human rights, circular economy, regional production, and material choices. It wasn’t just a passive exchange of ideas; it was an active, hands-on approach to understanding the complexities of the textile industry.

Professor Glomb’s emphasis on storytelling as a tool for sustainability resonated with me deeply. It’s not just about creating eco-friendly products; it’s about weaving the narrative of sustainability into the very fabric of these products. This approach can transform consumer perception and drive real change.

As the conference drew to a close, the key takeaways were clear: transparency, education, and the integration of social justice into every facet of business. These aren’t just lofty ideals; they’re necessary steps for any organization aspiring to make a difference in the world of sustainable textiles.

Looking forward, the impact of this event is bound to be far-reaching. The seeds of innovation and collaboration planted here are set to bloom in the years to come, and I eagerly await the next chapter in this journey towards a more sustainable, thoughtful approach to fashion and textiles.

Dr Lynn I. Wilson FRSA was the keynote speaker – our following post is an overview of her talk.