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Clothing Libraries: On-Campus Stores as Real-World Experiments for Sustainable Fashion
A project-based learning activity in which students start their own in-house non-profit store to establish second-hand clothing and garment sharing as new consumption practices.


By: Samira Iran (TU Berlin) and Anja Lisa Hirscher (Ulm University & K-Punkt Ländliche Entwicklung), with an additional example from Daniel Fischer (Wageningen University)

Session type: Single session, Undergraduate level, Small/Medium/Large size


  • Sustainable fashion

  • Sharing economy

  • Experience-based learning

  • Real-world experiment


Introduction to the teaching example:

The purpose of this activity is for students to learn how to start a non-profit organization and manage its operations. The students co-design a useful service proposal and convince other students to participate in this new sustainable consumption space. Through this process they come to comprehend how enhancing consumption sustainability affects all stages of the consumption process, from the acquisition of goods through their use and disposal. 


Students are tasked to develop a clothing library by developing the service concept, and then maintaining and marketing it. In this way, the clothing library can act as a field test for developing and evaluating sustainable alternatives, such as ones to modify social norms. In order for students to effectively operationalize their ideas, it is crucial to develop guidelines and procedures for how and what sorts of items are collected (such as formal gowns, accessories, etc.), as well as the standards/criteria by which the price for the items is determined.

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