Degrowth & Capitalism Futures explored as a community

For those of you who are new to the Trend Atelier, I'm Geraldine Wharry the founder and a Fashion futurist myself.

in 2019 I founded the Trend Atelier school and in the Fall of 2020 the community.a community for foresight professionals and designers working in the creative industry. Our members are looking to reach their full power and influence to make the world a better place, by expanding their connections, methods, philosophies, and insights, in a meaningful community setting.

Today, let's focus on our quarterly theme Degrowth & Capitalism futures, a natural progression on 'Beyond the New' which we explored in 2021.

Degrowth is an economic system gaining attention as a contender for a future economic model putting planetary resources and wellbeing before profit, focused on shrinking rather than growing economies, so we use less of the world’s energy and resources and put wellbeing ahead of profit. The idea is that by pursuing degrowth policies, economies can help themselves, their citizens and the planet by becoming more sustainable.

by Geraldine Wharry

We kicked off with our usual Future Vision presentation and workshop (a glimpse into our shared Miro is below).

It's important to specify that the Trend Atelier community members are change agents focused on sustainability and innovation, advising, and working closely with brands, design leaders and institutions.

So it would make sense we picked this theme for Q3, because we believe slower economic paradigms are possibly the most important developments in the next years to come, equally as key as Web3 and other technological advancements we are experiencing.

By focusing on Degrowth & Capitalism futures, we are investigating, looking to harness insights to fulfil our mission, or even course correct! We don't have it all figured out, that's the whole point of coming together.

Degrowth economic infrastructures would underpin care, manufacturing, commerce, power dynamics, with the goal to create an equitable way of living and doing business. You may have also heard of the term Post Growth as well.

We do not have a blueprint nor aim to put Degrowth forward as a solution, more an exploration. Many pioneers are still trying to lay out the foundation of what Degrowth and new economic systems would look like.

Intentionally, we placed this Q3 theme after our Q2 theme 'Care Futures', given the close connection between Degrowth and wellness, with central tenets such as covering for citizens' basic needs such as a Universal Basic Income.

So what is Degrowth if you're new to the idea?


Degrowth broadly means shrinking rather than growing economies, so we use less of the world’s energy and resources and put wellbeing ahead of profit. The idea is that by pursuing degrowth policies, economies can help themselves, their citizens and the planet by becoming more sustainable. The burden of degrowth is also seen as something that should fall on the largest and most polluting economies.

Degrowth as a term was coined in 1972 by Austrian-French social philosopher André Gorz, according to the website Degrowth.info.  Modern degrowth protagonists include French economist Serge Latouche and Greek Ecological Economist Giorgio Kallis, and to some extent, the co-author of The Limits of Growth report Dennis Meadow.

Sam Alexander, a Degrowth advocate and research fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia explains:

"Degrowth doesn’t mean we are going to be living in caves with candles. Instead, it might mean people in rich countries changing their diets, living in smaller houses and driving and travelling less."

Food for thought and further readings directly connected or adjacent👇

Here's a glimpse of our collaborative white board in action 👇


We speculated on a day in a post growth future. In a further section, we identified areas we will explore further in our follow up workshop in September.

Indeed future world building needs more intimate journeys and reflections so collectively, at the end of our July workshop, we decided to have another one.

For us, Degrowth & Capitalism Futures needs for us to also be broken down into how it may manifest and/or be strengthened by AI, Digital Design, Social design, ideas such as Emotional Capitalism.

For us, the future is iterative and a creative process.

- Geraldine Wharry

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