Kenyan born Ruth J L Cheluget (60) became the first person to obtain a Doctorate in Fashion Design at the Tshwane University of Technology during one of the University’s Spring graduation ceremonies hosted at the Pretoria Campus this morning, 18 October.
The title of her dissertation is Environmental Implications of Textile Consumption, Maintenance and Disposal in Kenya.
Dr Cheluget, who is a lecturer at the Kenyatta University’s Department of Fashion Design and Marketing in Nairobi, Kenya, says the relevance of her study relates to current debates in the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) regarding the huge influx of used apparel or ‘mitumba’ from developed to developing economies to avert dumping in their own countries. “Countries such as Kenya are arm-twisted to accept mitumba from the US in exchange for AGOA contracts,” she adds.
“I am emboldened to champion not only environmental issues that face my country, but also to participate in the growth and the development of its textile and fashion industry.”
Dr Cheluget says she was surprised to find out that she is the first person to obtain a Doctorate in Fashion Design from the University. “I am grateful for the support and encouragement of my supervisor, Prof Anne Mastamet-Mason, Head of the Department of Fashion Design.”
A proud Prof Mastamet-Mason says Dr Cheluget’s study reveals discrepancies between knowledge, action and the development of a sustainable textile and apparel industry in Kenya. “It has contributed significantly to Fashion Adoption Theory, Consumer Buying Behaviour Theory and Theories of Sustainable Development,” she adds.
The findings of the study have already been presented at two international conferences and two articles have been submitted for publication
The Department of Fashion Design has a rich history which goes back to the 1960’s. Currently four other D Tech students are progressing well with their studies.
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