Finding Social and Environmental Justice in the Fashion Production Chain in Brazil: When Fashion is Created with Nature by Women in Their Communities


Brazil covers a large territory, and although only 15% of its population is distributed in rural areas (IBGE Educa 2015), rural dwellers take on the chief responsibility for conserving local biodiversity. This article uses empirical research with a qualitative approach to present four cases of consolidated communities working with Amazonian rubber, regenerative cotton, weaving and lacework. It shows how rural communities pursue solutions for sustainable livelihoods in their own place of origin through the production of raw materials and products for the fashion chain, ensuring food security, income generation, maintenance of local biomes and gender justice. Particularly, this study examines the role of women beyond their families in ensuring work equity and better income distribution. Design appears as a positive agent, transforming ancestral and artisanal culture and knowledge into product innovation with added value to ensure production viability as well as enhancing community wellbeing.

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Published: 2022-06-03
Pages:74 to 86
Section:Special Issue: Fashion Justice
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How to Cite
Rüthschilling, E. A. . and Artuso, E. . (2022) “Finding Social and Environmental Justice in the Fashion Production Chain in Brazil: When Fashion is Created with Nature by Women in Their Communities ”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 11(2), pp. 74-86. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2402.

Author Biographies

Evelise Anicet Rüthschilling, Ph.D is Full Professor (retired) at the Art Institute of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. She completed a post-graduate course in Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Chicago, USA (1994); Master of Fine Arts at UFRGS (1994); PhD in Computer Education at UFRGS (2002), and post-doctorate in Surface Design and Sustainable Fashion at the Center for Design and Sustainability - PGDesign-UFPR (2012). She was a guiding teacher of Master and Doctorate Course in Design - PGDESIGN-UFRGS. Coordinated the Research Center for Surface Design UFRGS, responsible for structuring this field of knowledge, author of the book Design de Superfície  (Surface Design) (2008; 2013) Publisher of UFRGS. Evelise coordinated the Research Center for Sustainable Fashion, both laboratories are part of the Laboratory for Imaging and Technology – LIT - UFRGS. She was the director of the Fashion and Textiles virtual Museum of UFRGS until 2019. Evelise is a founding member of ABEPEM, Brazilian Association of Studies and Research in Fashion, which completes in 2019 fifteen years of the largest scientific congress of fashion in Brazil:  Colóquio de Moda (Fashion Colloquium). She develops applied research in surface design and sustainable fashion at the studio Contextura, which is a laboratory of sustainable and circular fashion, that shows the work at the Brazil Eco Fashion Week -BEFW.


Brazilian-based researcher, strategic designer and educator. Eloisa Artuso has been working in fashion for nearly 20 years and her present work focuses on social and environmental justice at the intersection of climate, gender and the fashion industry. Eloisa co-founded Fashion Revolution Brasil, the world’s largest fashion activism movement and teaches sustainable design at Istituto Europeo di Design - IED/SP. She recently co-founded Febre, a research, strategy and multimedia content platform created from the intersection of climate, gender and fashion. Eloisa graduated in Fashion Design from Santa Marcelina College, Brazil, and has a master’s degree in Design Futures from Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. In the past years, Eloisa has led important projects such as the Fashion Transparency Index Brazil, which analyses and ranks Brazil’s biggest fashion brands and retailers based on their public disclosure of human rights and environmental policies, practices and impacts, and the Fashion Revolution Forum, the first Brazilian platform exclusively created to foster debates on sustainable fashion, mobilising academia, brands and professionals through research and education.