Fashion Future: What’s Right and What’s Wrong with the Industry?

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Duration 00:59:53

George Washington University
Katrina Orsini works in the Education Department at the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum. Previously, Orsini was a Smithsonian Fellow at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in the Textile Department and has taught at the New York School of Interior Design and Parsons School of Design at The New School. Orsini founded Connecticut’s Hartford Fashion Week and served as its Executive Director from 2014 – 2019. She is currently working with GWU students, faculty, and administration to build the University as the epicenter of sustainable fashion in the DMV area.


After fossil fuels, the fashion industry is the most polluting industry on this planet. As customer awareness of harm grows, brands are labeling themselves as sustainable options. But what is sustainable fashion? How can the average consumer navigate it? And how will it change the future of one of the largest industries in the world?

In this class, Katrina Orsini talks about the future of fashion: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We will discuss the ways brands are introducing science, technology, and engineering into textiles to keep up with sustainability demands while balancing the ever growing need for technology and “smart textiles.”  These material interventions – along with a burgeoning multibillion dollar secondhand luxury market – have fashion houses scrambling to rewrite business plans.  Will they survive as we know them today? And if not, what will happen to all the waste they create as they pump out more and more clothing to drive profits? Join us to discuss the future that will make – or break – our closets.


Recommended Reading/Resources:

For more from GWU: This is the publication from an exhibition at our museum:

For more from the Cooper Hewitt: and

For more on the future of textiles: (book) or (short film)

For more on rejecting fast fashion and building a sustainable wardrobe for yourself: (book) or  (short film)







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Nanette Blanchard

An eye-opening talk!

I really enjoyed learning about alternative leathers and what we can do to make our clothing choices more sustainable.

2 years ago
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