Recently I had the opportunity to make a presentation to Home Economics students at Alexandria University in Egypt! I am sad to say I did not get to visit this cradle of textiles culture in person but thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to present a video to the meeting on “Creativity and Entrepreneurship to Achieve Sustainable Development“. The goal of this meeting was to promote women’s empowerment through small projects. I focused on using the internet to market handicrafts. One of the big challenges in marketing handicrafts made by women from outside the large markets is that they have not had training on marketing and branding so the products they produce don’t necessarily appeal to the consumers. My presentation discusses how to develop an authentic voice in handicrafts in order to “tell a story” about “your local” to consumers who want to have an “authentic experience”.

Marketing Handicrafts to the World

This course is an in-depth study of the role of consumption in the development of sustainable systems including the family, natural resources and economics.

This fall it will be offered from 12:30-3:20 on Thursday in the FCS  building here at Texas State. The CRN is 19570.  The syllabus from the last semester it was offered is here: MCS5342_Su14. (This was a summer session, so you will have to envision the course spread out over the full semester.)

The text for the course is by a historian and focuses on the origin of “consumers”. We use this text to create a stage for our discussions.

deVries, J (2008). The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Course Goals and Objectives:

By the end of the course students must be able to:

  1. Understand how problems of sustainability can be analyzed using both neoclassical economics and family & consumer sciences theoretical perspectives.
  2. Characterize the role of environmental, economic and social systems in the quality of life for individuals and families.
  3. Identify various measures used to describe standard of living, quality of life and value for consumers.
  4. Understand the ambivalent relationship between sustainability and marketing.
  5. Discuss how current issues in sustainability can impact consumption patterns.
  6. Explore economic, design, and sociological systems that seek to address the impact of consumption on sustainability.
  7. Analyze the link between socio-ecological problems and consumer behavior.
  8. Evaluate different consumption strategies based on their relevance for sustainable development.
  9. Conceptualize sustainable consumption/production paths and strategies for attaining such paths.

I am part of a USDA funded grant team that has recently created a professional development series designed to help fashion educators get up to speed on climate change and learn how to educate for climate change in the fashion curriculum. Our new website is up and running and it is beautiful. ATHENAS is an acronym for Apparel and Textile Higher Education Nurturing the Advancement of Sustainability. We chose this acronym in part because the Greek goddess Athena was both the goddess of wisdom and of weaving. The logo for the project is Athena’s war helmet surrounded by stitches.

We want to arm teachers to prepare warriors of wisdom to increase the impact their students can have on the sustainability of a multi-trillion dollar global industry. The site has classroom activities, ideas for how to recruit students who are interested in learning more about the science behind the apparel and textile industry as well as valuable professional development units that can help educators at both the secondary and post-secondary levels learn more about climate change and fashion.

Visit the site or for more information