Tuesday, July 5, 2011

{Sustainable Design 1} intro to sustainable design

Source: Pratt Institut

Sustainable design is a philosophy. Like so many 'concepts with a conscience' its meaning has become twisted and misused in marketing and advertising gumpf. Through a series of focussed articles I seek to redress this sorry state. Beginning with basics. In the context of fashion, it is designing to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  To achieve this, the design process must take into account a garment's creation, use and ultimate disposal.

An early exposure to the concept was in a BurdaStyle feature. Alabama Chanin's focus on the use of local artisans working with organic fabrics coloured with natural dyes seemed so perfect it had to be zen. Then there are its couture embellishments made from fabric scraps that would have otherwise been discarded. I really liked this. For more than I could put my finger on. At the time I was not conscious of the concept of sustainable design.

The next flash in the pan was the announcement of academic Alison Gwilt's contribution to a coming publication on nought couture ( a great name that caught my eye!). The book Shaping Sustainable Fashion was released a few month's ago and has been my constant companion on the commute to work. This has sharpened the concept for me and led to the discovery of more sources and practices. All of which will be shared in this coming series on sustainable design. With practical examples (of many things you probably already do!) so we can all work towards meeting the needs of future generations, as well as our own.

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