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Communicating sustainability: Curating the ‘Making it Real’ installation, Trinity Leeds

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With growing drives towards greater sustainability within the retail sector and growing requirement to conform to existing and emerging legislation, companies from ostensibly disparate sectors face the common challenge of encouraging the reduced consumption of saleable products, while simultaneously maintaining financial prosperity. Initially focused on knowledge exchange between the energy and water utilities and fashion retailers, TRANSFER (Trading Approaches to Nurturing Sustainable consumption in Fashion and Energy Retail) is now working together with a diverse group of large and SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) retailers from a number of sectors, with the aim of successfully addressing this paradox. Combining the experiences of our commercial partners with academic expertise from a team of psychologists, fashion and management experts from the University of Sheffield and University of the Arts, London, TRANSFER is also investigating how efforts to promote sustainable consumption within retail are received and responded to by consumers. In fulfilling the project aims we hope to foster a more complete understanding of how retail sector initiatives can be successfully designed and implemented in order to have a positive impact on both retailers and their customers. This article provides a summary of the TRANSFER ‘Making it Real’ installation, held at Trinity Leeds shopping centre, (February 2015). This innovative, interactive exhibition was conceived of and developed upon the basis of discussions held with TRANSFER partners at a commercial partner workshop held in April 2014. TRANSFER is a knowledge exchange project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Retail Sector Initiative 2013 (ES/L005204/1).
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Keywords: communication; consumption; fashion marketing; retail; sustainability; sustainable fashion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sheffield Hallam University 2: The University of Surrey 3: University of the Arts London

Publication date: March 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • We all wear clothes. We are all therefore invested at some level in the production and consumption of clothing. This journal intends to embrace issues and themes that are both universal and personal, addressing [and dressing] us all. Increasingly, as we all become accomplished semioticians, clothing becomes the key signifier in determining social interaction and behaviour, and sartorial norms dictate socio-cultural appropriateness. Following the rise of fashion theory, on an everyday level, we all understand that our clothes 'say' something about us, about our times, nation, system of values. Yet clothing is not fashion; clothing is a term derivative from 'cloth', to cover the body, whereas fashion alludes to the glamorous, the ephemeral and the avant garde. We wear clothes, but imagine fashion-an unattainable ideal.
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