Mara Rodriguez

Hi, I’m Mara. I’m a Swiss fashion design graduate with interest and focus on sustainability since 2017. During my internship at Infantium Victoria in Belgium, I expanded my knowledge on this topic. While making my research for my thesis project, I decided that I want to deepen and share my knowledge. I strongly believe that a lot must happen in the fashion system to make fashion good again, yet I’m convinced that we can manage to do so. Let’s stop compromising on sustainability!This project was developed as the Thesis of my BA’s degree in Fashion Design at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel, Switzerland in January 2021. This research tool is an ongoing project, supposed to grow and change over time.

For questions, suggestions or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Dinie Van Den Heuvel – Fashion Designer, Sustainability Expert & Mentor

Julian Zigerli – Fashion Designer & Mentor

Team of the Institute of Fashion Design at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design

Annie Kahri – Graphic Design
Jasmin Denzer – Website Setup
Ruth Bründler – Website Setup
Alexis Barreto – Text Writing
Emma Lou Herrmann – Portrait Photo and Text Editing
Anna Rodriguez – Helper Data-Management
Brigitte Bründler – Helper Data-Management
Carlos Rodriguez – Helper Data-Management
Ralf Gubler – Proofreading
Benjamin Willi – Textile Designer and research associate, HSLU – Interview
Marie-Louise Rosholm – Textile Designer and Trend Forecaster, MLR – Interview
Nina Bachmann – Head of Technology and Environment, Swiss Textiles – Interview

Big Thank You To:

Gioscarlos Martinez Ferrer

Fiona Rahn

Olivia Bertschinger

Maeva Müller

Rosanna Löw


The Crisis

greek. krisis «decision, crucial turn»

A manifesto is written by those who want to make their confessions public, hence me. Or Li Edelkoort for example on the subject of anti-fashion, Leo Babauta on focus in the age of distraction or Donna Haraway in her Cyborg Manifesto.

I wrote a manifesto because I want to officially renounce fashion as it is.

I wrote a manifesto because I love fashion.

I want to renounce fashion for the following reasons:

It functions as a system based on exploitation and rapidity, I don’t want to be a part of that. Today we live a degenerated form of consumption, because consumption in its etymological origin means “to use up”. In today’s context I find rather „unfinished use“ the suitable term, above all if I observe my personal surroundings and what I learn from statistics. This form of consumption means that we no longer use things to the end of their life but dispose of them after a short phase of use. There is overproduction, a lot of damage done, and a lot thrown away. We no longer treat clothes as commodities, but as consumables. Consumables are goods that are used up after a single use. I think it’s all the more important that we return to a form of production and consumption that does justice to the origin of these words and challenges the system in which we operate today.

I don’t think sustainability should be the focus of fashion – it must be the basis. However, as long as that base is not there and information on staggering facts and sustainable alternatives is difficult to access, I see how easy it is to justify one’s unsustainable ways of doing things. As I’ve grappled with this issue, I’ve wondered what really needs to happen for change to occur. After all, many problems I criticize in my manifesto, such as slavery, global warming, and consumption&waste, are well known but yet still ignored. Perhaps it is actually because we still have the privilege to ignore these issues. We pretend it’s none of our business because there are no direct consequences attached to us. If I imagine we were to discard our self-imposed privilege, I think we would be few and far between to do so voluntarily. I want to make everyone reflect, I want to make the injustice visible, I want to point out.

During the concept development for my fully sustainable Thesis collection, I realized that developing more fashion products, no matter how sustainable they are, is not justifiable for me. I don’t want to launch fashion products. In order to bring about change in this system, what is needed is not another sustainable collection, but simplified approaches to this issue, awareness and education. These simplified approaches to sustainability are very subjective. I tried to answer the questions I asked myself when I was still working on silhouettes. These include specific tips on how to deal with a circumstance, such as cutting patterns and waste, differently. It contains suggestions for questioning systems or an overview of more ecological alternatives to the material you’re used to.

I wondered if the next generation of designers would develop in a more sustainable fashion if the basis for such a way of creating was provided. I am convinced that in some cases this would be the case, which I conclude from the fact that I have already received several inquiries from students at my school who have sought my assistance in finding more sustainable alternatives.

The fact that I don’t want to produce anything doesn’t mean that I’m withdrawing from the fashion industry – quite the opposite actually; I’m providing an opensource toolbox as a result of my fashion design studies to give simplified access to information on sustainability. In order to make a bigger impact and to follow the urge to really make a difference, I decided to publish all my research on a website, where anyone can and should use it.

Since my website provides the above-mentioned basis, this toolbox is indispensable. My concept for it grows every day, becomes more precise and the urgency increases. My concern is not to start my own sustainable label, but to lend a hand to fashion labels and designers and to show and support alternatives for a more sustainable way of creating. The main part of my current work is the material library.

In addition, I am working out thought-provoking ideas with concrete suggestions on how to become more sustainable in the daily work routine. I call the elaboration of these concrete suggestions a buffet. With this I want to suggest that everyone can and should make use of these ideas. I would like everyone to make this change in the system their personal mission – all of us who make, love and wear fashion.

This buffet is basically a collection of ideas on how and where aspects of the fashion industry should change. Basically, it’s about deconstructing the fashion system to its key elements to then revisiting and questioning what is established. By doing so, I hope to make designers aware of the complexities of sustainability, make it easier for them to work in a more sustainable way, and encourage them to enjoy their work. The structure of the buffet is based on a symbolic level. There is no listing of topics in the traditional sense, but rather bundles. The thought-provoking ideas are assigned to a symbol on the basis of their characteristic, therefore groups are formed. The format of these ideas is based on the fact that the fashion system cannot function linearly, just as my work does not. There is no hierarchy, neither between the three components of my textual work nor in the individual categories with which I deal. Everything has the same justification and urgency.

I have deliberately chosen a very proclamatory language and a simple, logical structure for the manifesto in order to ensure accessible understanding. This envisioned revolution of the system involves deep reflection and naming the problems and difficulties. Since I have been deeply involved with sustainability, I have been in a constant state of reflecting, questioning, and rethinking. Always. Everywhere. While that sounds exhausting at first, it’s incredibly rewarding to always make decisions in full awareness and know that you’re acting to the best of your ability. It also brings an infinitely more expansive process to my work.

I love fashion because it evolves me, embraces me. It has its own language that everyone interprets differently. I love it for its critique and its provocation. It is constant and yet flexible. It is beautiful and ugly. Delicate and brutal. It is everything and nothing. It is full of contradictions. It is very lovable. And it needs our help.

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