Fashion transparency trump card game: data activism to play with.

Hello shoppers! We have some news. CEO Ian is presenting this week at the Geographical Association’s annual conference at the University of Surrey, UK. You might like to get the lowdown, find all the resources in one place. Here they are…

On Wednesday this week, Ian is debuting a trump card game that you play with your own and other people’s clothes. He will set it up and a tournament will take place right in the room. The start is not not exciting. The cards are blank…

– click image to download the template –

… and students fill each one out with data for an item of their clothing whose brand has been included in the latest version of Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index (UK 2021 is below, Brazil 2021 is here, Mexico 2021 here). You write the name of the brand at the top, draw your item below, fill in the numbers, tick whether your item if new or second hand and then…

…as soon as enough cards have been filled out, you assemble them into one pack, shuffle and deal them to three or four representatives from the class in a rabble-rousing tournament atmosphere and get started.

– what your completed cards, in Portuguese, should look like –

Nobody knows whose cards are whose (except when you see your card). Nobody knows what will win and lose each time (but you learn!). If you have never played a trump card game, here’s how it works.

After a few rounds of our game (and maybe the dinosaur version, too), players might wonder what the categories actually mean? What does ‘transparency’ mean, for example? What’s being measured and how? Keep going with this conversation, browse the FTI booklet for the answers, feed them back into game play and it can become deep and thrilling, hands-on data play, that’s entertainingly depressing and can develop and question – in fine-tuned ways – players’ stereotypical ideas of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ fashion brands. And why is the tie-breaker about new vs second-hand clothes? yeah. Plus, if that’s not enough for you, brands’ transparency scores have changed over the years, so is the fashion industry changing for the better? You can find back issues of the FTI reports on Fashion Revolution’s site. So, what role has publishing this data each year maybe played in this change? Are brands playing too?! Is this data activism? And what part can making and playing this game contribute to this fashion education and activism?

This version of the game was originally developed for and published in Portuguese by Fashion Revolution Brazil, starting in a Young Fashion Revolutionaries workshop in Sao Paula that Ian attended in January 2020.

It, and a number of other ‘who made my clothes’ education resources were prototyped here by and for Brazilian educators and students, test-driven in educator workshops around the country…

… and published in this book. Even if you don’t read Portuguese and have to use Google Translate, these are fascinating and powerful approaches.

With the conference’s ‘Everyday Geographies’ theme, and its programme of decolonizing geographies talks and sessions, what could pedagogical approaches developed in and for Brazil work in your class? We’ll leave the comments open to let us know…

Geography is not boring, folks.



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