Costume and Sustainability

From Past Practice to Future Strategies for an Ecological Costume Praxis


  • Sofia Pantouvaki
  • Ingvill Fossheim
  • Susanna Suurla


What can we learn from past traditions and what sustainability practices are currently employed in the field of costume? Moving towards a more ecological costume creation, there is an increasing need to address the responsibility of the costume practitioners through the lifecycle of costume from design to production. This article provides an overview of current sustainable costume practices and suggests that it is timely to rethink costume praxis from an ecologically responsible perspective. The article addresses the necessity of embedding ecological equity into all aspects of costume creation and proposes that a resilient ecosystem of costume practice can be envisioned within professional institutions, as well as the individual costume designer.


Sofia Pantouvaki

Dr. Sofia Pantouvaki is a scenographer and Professor of Costume Design at Aalto University. Chair of Critical Costume; Editor of the academic journal Studies in Costume and Performance; Vice Chair (Research) OISTAT Costume Sub-commission; and lead Editor of Performance Costume: New Perspectives and Methods (2021).

Ingvill Fossheim

Ingvill Fossheim (MA) is a costume designer & scenographer, and doctoral candidate at Aalto University. Her artistic work and research seek to orient performance-making praxis towards responsible, resilient and regenerative material approaches.

Susanna Suurla

Susanna Suurla (MA) is a costume designer, doctoral candidate, and part-time lecturer in Costume Design at Aalto University. Her work and research explore the relationship between mind, matter, and meaning-making through different mediums of material engagement.


APDG, 2020. APDGreen: A Green Conversation. Australian Production Designers Guild. (online) 23 March 2020. Available at: (Accessed 19 April 2022).

Banks, S., 2014. Riding a Bike on Stage - Green Theater and Katie Mitchell’s Production of Lungs. HowlRound Theatre Commons (online). Available at: (Accessed 31 March 2022).

Beer, T., 2014. Introducing ‘ecoscenography’. Ecoscenography, (blog) 7 June. Available at: (Accessed 20 April 2022).

Beer, T., 2021. Ecoscenography: An Introduction to Ecological Design for Performance. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.

Biba, E., 2019. Everything Americans think they know about recycling is probably wrong. NBC News, (online) 14 April. Available at: (Accessed 17 April 2022).

Caswell, M. & Cifor, M., 2016. From human rights to feminist ethics:_Radical empathy in the archives. In: Archivaria, The Journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists. Available at: (Accessed 24.04.2022).

Gilligan, C., 1982 [1993]. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. (Kindle), Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Available at: (Accessed 23 April 2022).

Grosz, E., 2017. The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Jones, A. R. and Stallybrass, P., 2001. Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kidao, S., 2019. The Costume Directory (online) Available at: (Accessed 19 April 2022).

Laine, V., 2020. Vespa Laine: Esityksen ekologinen kestävyys. Meteli, (online) 17 March. Available at: (Accessed 9 March 2022).

Laine, V., 2021. Vespa Laine: Ekologisuus pitäisi saada työehtosopimuksiin. Meteli, (online) 13 October. Available at: (Accessed 9 March 2022).

Maclaurin, A., 2015. An interview with Jenny Tiramani. In: A. Maclaurin & A. Monks, eds, Costume: Readings in Theatre Practice, London: Palgrave, pp. 19-28.

MacArthur, E., 2021. Ellen MacArthur in conversation with Wolfgang Blau: Growth in a circular economy. Circular Economy Show, (podcast) 18 August. Available at: (Accessed 10 April 2022).

MyStash, 2022. (online) Available at: (Accessed 18 April 2022).

Niinimäki, K., ed., 2018. Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy. Espoo: Aalto ARTS Books.

Pantouvaki, S., 2020. Costume Thinking as a Strategy for Critical Thinking. In: Critical Costume 2020, Costume Agency. (online) 21 – 23 August 2020. Available at: (Accessed 23 April 2022).

Pantouvaki, S., Fossheim, I. and Suurla, S. (2021). Thinking with costume and material: A critical approach to (new) costume ecologies. Theatre & Performance Design, 7(3-4), 2021, pp. 199-219. Available at: (Accessed 19 April 2022).

Potting, J., Hekkert, M., Worrel, E. and Hanemaaijer, A., 2017. Circular economy: measuring innovation in product chains. (pdf) The Hague: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Available at: (Accessed 17 April 2022).

Romer, C., 2021. Our Experiments: Upcycling in Theatre. European Theatre Convention, (online) 15 January. Available at: (Accessed 19 April 2022).

Ross, I., 2022. Found Objects in Action. The Show Must Go ON/OFF-line: Ecoscenography: conversations on sustainable theatre design and production (webinar), 27 January. Available at: (Accessed 11 April 2022).

Saveljeff, A., 2019. Pääkirjoitus: Teme haastaa työmarkkinajärjestöt neuvottelemaan ekologisempia työehtosopimuksia. Meteli, (online) 1 October. Available at: (Accessed 9 March 2022).

Sharpe, B., 2020. Three Horizons - The Patterning of Hope. 2nd ed. Axminster: Triarchy Press.

Taylor, M. (2017). Shopping their wardrobe: Changing costume practices in Australian theatre. Behind the Scenes: Journal of Theatre Production Practice, 1(1), 2017, pp. 16 – 31.

Tenkanen, T., 2022. Tapio Säkkinen: Näyttämötaiteiden hiilineutraalius on sydämen asia. Meteli, (online) 1 March. Available at: (Accessed 31 March 2022).

Theatre Green Book, 2022. Theatre Green Book (online). Available at: (Accessed 17 April 2022).

World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), 1987. Our Common Future. (online) United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Available at: (Accessed 3 April 2022).

Overgrown shoe





Pantouvaki , S., Fossheim, I., & Suurla, S. (2022). Costume and Sustainability: From Past Practice to Future Strategies for an Ecological Costume Praxis. Peripeti, 19(37), 72–85. Hentet fra