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New Sustainable Fashion Certificate Program Promotes Data Literacy

Glasgow Caledonian New York College and Fashion Revolution USA are teaming up to help the next generation of industry professionals develop a more sophisticated understanding of evolving sustainability trends.

The college and the nonprofit announced plans to launch a professional development certificate focused on measuring the impact of sustainable fashion using data. The curriculum features courses that illuminate the industry’s adverse effects on people and the planet, as well as the prevailing movements to curb impact.

The absence of internationally recognized environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics has created challenges when it comes to benchmarking and measuring these efforts, they said. Brands have so far been “free to create and communicate their own standards, making comparison impossible.” Consequently, “few fashion professionals today come equipped to analyze and speak to data for impact objectives.”

The program will teach current and future industry professionals how to cut through marketing jargon and greenwashing to measurable insights. Courses will introduce participants to the sustainable fashion data landscape at large, while highlighting best practices for leveraging these metrics. Taught by both industry practitioners and professors of data science, courses were developed to help participants bring evidence-based decision-making skills to their companies’ sustainability strategies.

Virtual classes are live and interactive, “featuring guest speakers who work with data to measure sustainability and social impact specifically for the fashion industry.” The first course, led by Caroline Preibe, founder of The Center for The Advancement Of Garment Making, focuses on measuring, understanding and applying sustainable fashion data, while the second course, led by Mike Mannion, dean of the School of Computing, Engineering, and Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University, promotes data literacy for decision-making.

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The third and final course, taught by Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, professor at the British School of Fashion at Glasgow Caledonian University London, is an applied project in fashion data for sustainability. Participant work supports Fashion Revolution USA’s Fashion Transparency Index, a tool for ranking and reviewing the sustainability profiles of international brands and retailers.

Online courses begin Feb. 19 and take place each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. Running through May 2, the certificate requires no prerequisites or prior industry experience. Interested parties can apply to take part in the program through the Glasgow Caledonian New York College website.