1:19 p.m., March 7, 2012--The University of Delaware's Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition(SAC), an industry-wide group of leading apparel retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, academics and non-governmental organizations formed in 2011 to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products.
The coalition is in the process of developing the Apparel Index, an industry tool taking a life-cycle view of the entire production chain. An important long-term task in addressing social and environmental impacts will be educating future industry professionals about these impacts and how information from the Index can be used in making decisions that improve conditions.
UD's Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies is a global leader in sustainability education and its nearly 400 undergraduate students majoring in apparel design and fashion merchandising all achieve an integrated core of sustainability knowledge.
Additionally, an award-winning graduate certificate in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business, taught entirely online, has been offered since 2007 and provides a foundation of more in-depth knowledge needed to manage social responsibility and sustainability in the global apparel industry. The department has recently been named by Source4Style, a leading website on fashion and design, as one of the top-10 schools in the world committed to sustainability education.
The department's thought leadership in sustainability is underscored by its role in founding the international consortium of Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Business, which has served as a catalyst for faculty at colleges and universities around the world to launch sustainability-related education and research initiatives. The department is also active with a wide range of key stakeholders including the International Textile and Apparel Association, the American Apparel and Footwear Association and the Fair Labor Association.
"Joining SAC is a natural extension of the work we are doing as part of our Sustainable Apparel Initiative," remarked Marsha Dickson, professor and department chair. "This initiative leverages our expertise in apparel and textiles sustainability and social responsibility, consumer behavior, and apparel design to research, design, create, and demonstrate a framework of guidelines, practices, programs, and solutions to shape the character of the apparel and retail industries in their evolution toward sustainability."
In support of the department's admission into SAC, Bob Buck, a Technical Fellow at DuPont, said, "I wholeheartedly supported UD joining the coalition. Having academic members in the coalition is so very important and uniquely additive. Membership provides a direct connection for students to learn and understand the industry's sustainability aspirations and see how they can play a role in achieving them."
Jason Kibbey, executive director of SAC, said, "We are really excited for the department's participation. They have been an excellent leader in sustainability issues in fashion for quite some time and they're going to be great partners for us."