Visualizing the Climate Crisis: The Fashion System

July 6, 2023
10:00–11:15AM EDT
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Tannery workers working in unsafe conditions, Kolkata, India. Photograph by Rebecca Cappelli, from her documentary film SLAY, 20 October 2021.

“Calculating, industrial society is obliged to form consumers who don’t calculate; if clothing’s producers and consumers had the same consciousness, clothing would be bought (and produced) only at the very slow rate of its dilapidation” – Roland Barthes, The Fashion System, 1983.

The United Nations reports the fashion industry is the second most polluting of all industries, resulting in 8% of all carbon emissions and 20% of all global wastewater. The system is also responsible for perpetuating an economic paradigm leading to social and climate injustice at the cost of poorer workers, animals, and the planet.

Who could lead the systemic changes that the fashion industry requires in order to go beyond “greenwashing” and be more sustainable? How could we–media, policymakers, artists, activists, designers, institutions, and educators–help re-wire a system that is so interconnected and unjust? What could be the best way to talk to people and change the fashion system?

This is the third talk of the series, Visualizing the Climate Crisis, which explores the potential and the role that contemporary photography, together with different disciplines, can have in addressing the multi-layered theme of climate change. 

The series features visual journalists doing evidence-based, research-informed, image-led reporting on climate issues. They will be in conversation with other professionals representing a diverse range of disciplines, such as science, policy-making, education, architecture, social innovation, media, and more, trying to explore the possibility of thinking beyond photography in a genuinely trans-disciplinary approach to expand reach, involve the wider public, and move people from being inspired to taking action.

In this event, Rebecca Cappelli (filmmaker and activist) and Sara Sozzani Maino (Creative Director and educator) are in conversation with Maria Teresa Salvati. The event will be moderated by Dr. Paul Lowe.

This series is organized by Everything is Connected; UAL, University of the Arts London; and VII Insider.


Maria Teresa Salvati is the founder and director of Everything is Connected, a trans-disciplinary platform that aims at connecting different areas of research and experiments with new ways to involve and engage the public at large, learning through the results of experimentation and providing the community with new paradigms for communicating the environmental crisis.
Dr. Paul Lowe is a Reader in Documentary Photography and the Course Leader of the Masters program in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK. Paul is an award-winning photographer who has been published in TIME, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer, and The Independent, amongst others. He has covered breaking news the world over, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela’s release, famine in Africa, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and the destruction of Grozny.
Rebecca Cappelli is an award-winning French filmmaker and animal rights activist based in Switzerland. Her work–including the feature documentary SLAY on the fashion industry–aims to create culture change and to empower people to become advocates for the animals, the planet, and vulnerable communities.
Sara Maino Sozzani is the creative director of the Sozzani Foundation. She collaborates with educational institutions and serves on several boards working and creating awareness for a more responsible planet.

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