CE.20.004 – REWEAVING the Fabric of Dutch Society: Understanding, rethinking and reformulating the impact of textiles on space, society, culture in the Netherlands and beyond

Route: Circular economy

Cluster question: 044 Can globalisation and development be reinvented in a way that, in time, will mitigate differences in prosperity between world regions?

Textiles, their production, trade, use, and disposal reveal the challenges which global inclusive and sustainable development poses to Dutch society. Textiles are primarily produced in the Global South, often at great cost to the environment. Its production involves vulnerable low-paid labour, as the covid-19 pandemic painfully reveals (042). While the volume of textiles being sold rapidly increases, prices fall, and life cycles shorten, Dutch post-consumer textiles are re-exported to the global South, recycled for the building industry, and the remainder discarded as unprocessable waste.

The challenges created by current textile related practices pose fundamental questions regarding globalisation, development, and differences in prosperity between major world regions (044). Textile related production, transportation, and consumption practices (070) shape the built environment (cities, architecture), being intimately related to expressions of class, gender, and power (078). What systemic changes would the acceptance of sustainable circular textile related practices require (053), and how can these contribute to reducing global inequality (042)? How does systemic change inspire revising material’s usages (cotton, wool, petroleum-fibres (052)?

Linking the present to the past, REWEAVING proposes a long-term participatory and co-creative multidisciplinary analysis of textile spaces, practices and cultures to understand the ways in which their behaviour is part of spatial, social, and cultural patterns. It uses these insights to induce societal changes, engaging policy-making bodies, redefining lifestyles. Working with museums, municipalities, trade unions and companies, engaging with collections of textiles (public, private), spaces (urban, rural, Dutch, global) and people (designers, traders, workers, general public, artists), producing new tools (serious gaming, mapping, AR, MOODs) understanding the values attributed to textiles will help us to develop future circular practices.


AR, Asia, behavior, biodegradable, built environment, Development, fashion, globalization, infrastructures, manufacturing, new materials, serious games., space, textile, trade

Other organisations

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS, HVA, Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD)


Organisation Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University (LEI)
Name Dr. E. (Erik) de Maaker
E-mail maaker@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
Website https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/erik-de-maaker#tab-1