Monday, October 22, 2007

What Future for Eco Textile Design?

Textile Futures Research Group, 11 October 2007 at the ICA.

An afternoon of discussions followed by and evening of 'Question Time' on the theme of eco-responsibility and sustainability. 'Closing the loop', 'taking action and responsibility' and 'up-cycling' were the main messages that came from the pannelists.

I was interested to note that 'Cradle to Cradle' was wirtten as long ago as 2002, it was obviously at the absolute cutting edge at the time and is still well ahead of the majority of peoples thinking on recycling.

The idea that sustainability is an essential part of good design and not a 'bolt-on' needs to be taught from school level upwards if it is to really become the norm.

What happens to the product beyond the selling point? As a designer it's your responsibility to consider the products future.

Eco-considerations in fashion is like a snowball that has grown so big it won't go away, for some companies it is jumping on the band wagon but others have been battling for a long time to ditch the 'hempy/hairy' image of eco -fashion. M&S have now brought its environmental policies onto the High Street and others are doing the same.

The idea of a ratings system similar to that used on white-goods is popular but will be difficult to standardise. Gap are trying this idea internally in the first instance in order to bring their suppliers (such as dyers) in line. Timberland have a list of ingredients and green index on the box, their method is still under development but it has taught them a lot and they have redesigned some of their products as a result.
I am particularly fond of;

Nature as model
Nature as measure
Nature as mentor

which I believe comes from the book Biomimicry - Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine M Benyus

Useful websites include;

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