You call it Eco. We call it Common Sense


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Sustainability in the fashion industry

The oikos Winter School is an international one-week conference on the topic of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry.

  International students & young professionals

The conference aims to provide international students from different subjects and young professionals with a sound knowledge of the topic “Sustainability in the Fashion Industry. These future Changemakers will explore during the week an environment of deep discussion and vital international exchange.

Witten, Germany

The oikos chapter of the Witten/Herdecke University organizes the annual Winter School since 2007. Therefore the 13th oikos Winter School takes place in Witten, a nice town in the western part of Germany. Witten is situated in the heart of the Ruhr area, therefore it is the perfect starting point to explore the beauties of the Ruhr valley and it´s industrial heritage. The infrastructure is well developed, with good access to three airports (Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Cologne) and frequently train connections to Dortmund, Bochum, Essen and Aachen.

Sustainability in the Fashion Industry

The 13th oikos Winter School addresses the issue of sustainability in the apparel industry. The topic of sustainability in the fashion industry has been brought into the public eye by scandals such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, or alarming studies on the effect of chemicals used in production of raw materials. Low wages, unfair employment conditions and violations of freedom are often associated with parts of the global apparel industry. Furthermore, following the oil industry, the textile industry is the second largest contributor to current environmental pollution. It is evident, that there is a long list of problems that can be observed along the textile value chain. They range from poor working conditions and child labour in production countries to health effects caused by contaminated products, to the salinization of soil, as well as, the massive threat to bio-diversity by genetically modified cotton plants.

Inspiring Speaker & Interactive Learning

In order to adequately deal with the complex issue of sustainability in the apparel industry, the conference is divided into two sections. The first part of the oikos Winter School facilitates participants, accompanied by experts, in creating a full picture of the prospects and problems within the global textile industry. These factors will take into account the three dimensions of sustainability to discuss the possibilities of improving ecological and social standards and initiate impulses for social change. During the second part of the conference, new strategies and solutions are developed in line with practical examples, facilitated by expert practitioners, innovative companies and NGOs. An open evening lecture with students and professionals will be held for everyone to discuss and share their views on the subject matter. It will be an exclusive opportunity to gain insight from the industry experts and learn about their approaches to combat the current issues in question.

To get an impression of how the Winter School works, watch the video of the oikos Winter School 2015