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Manufacture and Design Ethics in the Fashion Industry

Understand how ethics influence different manufacturing and design processes in fashion and how this affects the global industry.

A woman styles a mannequin with a colourful patterned dress in a room full of styled mannequins.

Explore the ethical decisions fashion designers face

There are many ethical decisions that fashion designers have to make in product development, sourcing, and manufacturing.

On this four-week course from Bloomsbury Academic and authors V. Ann Paulins and Julie L. Hillery, you’ll delve into the various methods implemented in fashion design processes, and explore the role of ethics for each one.

With this knowledge, you’ll understand the different inspirations and development processes that influence fashion design. You’ll also explore how to address the ethical dilemmas designers may face.

Discover the processes and pitfalls in fashion design and product development

Delving into the fashion design process and product development, you’ll uncover some of the common pitfalls in these processes and how to avoid them.

You’ll also examine the roles that designers play in branding and brand representation.

Unpack sustainable design

You’ll explore the ways in which environmental and economic sustainability are related to fashion design.

With this knowledge, you’ll learn to define principles that comprise circular, sustainable design.

Explore ethical dilemmas in a global fashion industry

Delving further into the ethics within the design and manufacturing process in fashion, you’ll explore a variety of issues including human rights, workplace safety, sweatshops, and animal welfare.

This knowledge will help you explore the cultural, governmental, and NGO influences on global labour practices and standards. With this understanding, you’ll learn to communicate ways to engage in ethical fashion design.

You’ll finish the course with a strong foundational knowledge of the relationship between ethics and design and manufacturing in the global fashion industry.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Processes and pitfalls in fashion design and product development: Part 1

    • Course welcome

      In this activity, you will be introduced to the content that will be covered during this course. You will also get an overview of the topics covered during the first week of this course.

    • Perspectives on ethics in apparel and product development

      In this activity, you will consider a variety of perspectives relating to ethics in the global apparel design, manufacturing, and distribution arenas.

    • Ethical applications in the design process

      In this activity, we explore the concept of fast fashion and the growing awareness and concern for the planet’s well-being.

    • Evolving theories and practices

      In this activity we look at the evolving theories and practices that affect the adoption and diffusion of fashion.

    • Fashion brands

      In this activity, you will explore fashion brands and the intricacies that form part of the process of creating a recognizable fashion brand.

    • Week wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight on what to expect in the new week.

  • Week 2

    Processes and pitfalls in fashion design and product development: Part 2

    • Weekly welcome

      Moving into the second week of this course, this activity will give you an overview of the topics that will be covered during this week.

    • Intellectual property

      In this activity, we continue exploring the approaches to ethics when we learn about the concept of intellectual property, brand distinction, ownership, and protection of brands.

    • The fashion design process: Knockoffs vs counterfeits

      In this activity, you will learn more about the impact of counterfeit and knockoff goods on the fashion industry.

    • Environmentalism and sustainability

      In this activity, we explore the roles that environmentalism and sustainability plays in fashion design.

    • Real-world cases

      In this activity, you learn about processes required to prevent design disasters and the role of sustainability to address environmental and social issues in product design and manufacture.

    • Week wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight on what to expect in the new week.

  • Week 3

    Manufacturing and sourcing fashion products in a global industry: Part 1

    • Weekly welcome

      Moving into the third week of this course, this activity will give you an overview of the topics that will be covered during this week.

    • Ethical manufacturing and sourcing

      In this activity, we explore ethical manufacturing and sourcing.

    • Issues in manufacturing fashion: Part 1

      In this activity, we explore issues experienced during the manufacturing and sourcing of fashion apparel. We further look at human rights and workplace safety. Do you know what fair trade and sweatshops are? Let's find out!

    • Issues in manufacturing fashion: Part 2

      Why are animal welfare and product safety an issue for customers when it comes to the manufacturing process? In this article, we continue our discussion around issues in the manufacturing process.

    • Week wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight on what to expect in the new week.

  • Week 4

    Manufacturing and sourcing fashion products in a global industry: Part 2

    • Weekly welcome

      Welcome back to the last week of the course where we continue our discussion around ethical manufacturing and sourcing.

    • Environmentalism

      First up in Week 4 we explore environmentalism and safety during the sourcing and manufacturing process. What is sustainability and why is it significant in manufacturing? Let's find out!

    • Ethical manufacturing and sourcing

      In this activity, we try to find the answer to the question of who is responsible for ethical manufacturing and sourcing?

    • Real-world cases

      Let's look at some real-world examples. First up is the compliance regulations around labelling followed by trends in fashion manufacturing. You will be asked some questions at the end of each case study so take notes!

    • Course wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight into other courses in this series.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify inspiration and development processes that influence fashion design as well as differentiate among various methods implemented in design processes
  • Identify ethical decisions that fashion designers make and explore ways environmental and economic sustainability are related to fashion design
  • Explain principles that comprise circular, sustainable design and explain the definition and concept of intellectual property
  • Explore the role designers play in branding and brand representation and describe the difference between design inspiration, creating knockoffs, and copyright infringement
  • Explain the relationship between developing intellectual property and participating in the fashion adoption process and recognize ethical fashion design
  • Describe the relationship between design and manufacturing and describe a variety of manufacturing and sourcing issues presenting ethical dilemmas in the fashion industry
  • Identify the role of human labor and human capital in the production of apparel, textile, and other consumer products and thus be able to define “sweatshop” “fair labor” and “fair trade”
  • Compare government and non-government (NGO) regulation guidelines, offices, and organizations that pertain to apparel and textiles manufacturing and summarize various cultural influences on global labor practices and standards

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in the fashion industry and the design and manufacturing processes.

It will also be of interest if you want to learn more about ethics in the global fashion industry.

Who developed the course?

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bloomsbury Publishing is a leading independent publishing house, established in 1986, with authors who have won the Nobel, Pulitzer and Booker Prizes.and is the originating publisher and custodian of the Harry Potter series. Bloomsbury has offices in London, New York, New Delhi, Oxford and Sydney. Within Bloomsbury’s Academic division, it publishes under Bloomsbury, as well as under a number of prestigious and historic imprint names.

Fairchild Books

With a history stretching back over more than 100 years, Fairchild Books is a world-leading publisher in the fields of fashion and interior design.

FutureLearn

FutureLearn is jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group and has been providing online courses for learners around the world over the last eight years.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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