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Clementine Cooper, sophomore and first year honors student, is researching the topic of creating new fabrics.  Her interest in sustainability first began when she learned about the effects of climate change.  Being familiar with fast fashion, Clementine originally focused on creating fabrics by combining polymers, and while she is still very interested in this, she found that her worry about fashion was shared by many individuals and two particular organizations: Fashion Revolution and Fibershed.

These interests have led her to expand her knowledge about sustainable fabric and fashion.  She has read the book Fibersheds: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economyabout why we need to change our current fashion system and an organization who is making strides to do so.  Clementine has also read articles on many different aspects of sustainability and fashion, including but not limited to the circular economy of fashion, synthetic dyes, and even application for fashion in the metaverse.  She is currently reading Silent Spring: The Classic that Launched the Environmental Movement, by Rachel Carson, and Worn: A People's History of Clothing, by Sofi Thanhauser.

The information that she has acquired on Fibersheds in particular has become central to Clementine's study.  Fibersheds are landscapes specifically designed as bases for the rendering of natural textile resources.  When discussing what she has learned about Fibersheds, Clementine says, "I learned that fashion companies often put lead or endocrine disruptors in their clothing.  Once aspect of Fibersheds is to try to use little to no chemicals." 

According to her research, there are 55 Fibersheds in the world, each of which use farming practices to decrease carbon emissions by causing carbon to be absorbed instead of emitted into the atmosphere.  Limiting carbon emissions is a very important aspect of sustainability and will have overwhelming positive impacts on the environment, lessening the probelm of climate change.

Clementine has identified a central problem withing her research: the world's reliance on fast fashion and the worldwide lack of knowledge about its risks.  Her personal solution to this problem consists of a large-scale, yet attainable goal.  In the future and on a global level, Clementine says, " I want to create my own fashion brand that gets all of its materials from local Fibersheds."  She essentially wants to embrace these communities of farmers, growers, and artisans in order to create a culture of wholesale fashion that is made from sustainable fabrics.  Clementine is already beginning to take the necessary steps to make this goal a reality.  In fact, she has begun to attend meetings of a local Fibershed,  Acadiana Fibershed, and has shared her idea  with the group who met her idea with interest and enthusiasm, claiming that she is the future of fashion.

Additionally, Clementine is working to expand awareness of and access to Fibershed creations.  She has undertaken a project supported by the Religious of the Sacred Heart called Move Our World.  This competition challenges students to design and enact a solidarity project that will have a positive impact on people in vulnerable situations or that will help with conservation efforts for our planet.  Clementine is working to create an Acadiana Fibershed booth at Christmas at Coteau so that Fibershed artisans can sell their sustainable creations.  Clementine will spend the months ahead of Christmas at Coteau raising awareness of Fibersheds and educating the school community about sustainable fashion.  Her campaign begins in May when she will make her first presentation to Upper School students at Chapel.

Only a sophomore, Clementine's research and aspirations with regard to the global effect of sustainable fashion are admirable, as is her passion for fighting climate change.  The Honors Program has led her on a path to get the most out of her reserch and subsequently achieve her goals, which have the potential to provide our community with awareness of the detrimental effects of fast fashion and its environmentally friendly alternatives.

- Lelia venable, '23, honors blog editor


Meet our Editor

Lelia Venable, '23

I’m Lelia, the primary author of the ASH Honors Blog reporting on the research and work of the students in the Honors Capstone Program. I am a senior at ASH, and this is my fourth year in the Honors Program. I came to Sacred Heart my freshman year of high school, and since then, I have researched Cochlear Implants and the Deaf community, Racial Representation in Pop culture, and Poverty in America and the DIsillusionment of the American Dream. This year I am researching humanitarian journalism, and my research application is my role as the Honors blog’s content creator, which I will use to impact my school community. Last year, I was assistant editor of the Honors blog, so I have experience and knowledge regarding the blog already. I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the still newly-established Honors Blog, making it accessible, well-informed, thought-provoking, and entertaining to read.