Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed

Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
DK:Lab   Sustainable Fashion – Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
DK:Lab   Sustainable Fashion – Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Colophon                                                                                       Sustainable Fashion

                                                                                                                          - Issues to be addressed
                           © 2010
                           Designskolen Kolding / Kolding School of Design
                           Aagade 10
                           6000 Kolding

                           Laboratory for Design, Innovation and Sustainability
                           Head of development Mette Strømgaard Dalby
                           Editor Mette Fersløv Schultz                                                                   Teachers
                           Translation Marianne Baggesen Hilger                                                           Textile engineer and associate professor Joy Boutrup,
                           Graphic Design OddFischlein                                                                    fashion designer Silvio Vujicic and textile designer and
                           Photo Anne Mie Dreves /Stefan Maria Rother /Jens Christian Hansen /Sacha Maric                 associate professor, Ph.D. Vibeke Riisberg.
                           Stylist Bettina Milling Bakdal
                           Printing Zeuner Grafisk                                                                        Students
                           Paper Amber Graphic                                                                            Adam Gefen, Angela Buur, Anna Katharina Thomsen,
                           Fonts GT Regular / GT Bold / GT Heavy                                                          Anna Kirstine Borg, Anne Bretschneider, Anne Woidemann
                                                                                                                          Christensen, Bruno Peter Heinrich Kleist, Camilla Skøtt
                                                                                                                          Christiansen, Carina Sveistrup Mikkelsen, Hellene Jørg-
                                                                                                                          ensen, Katja Brüchle Knudsen, Katrine Terese Nielsen,
                                                                                                                          Kristoffer Guldager Kongshaug, Laura Locher, Lea Zaar
                           ISBN 978-87-90775-04-9                                                                         Østergaard, Linea Lund Hjorhöy, Louise Ravnløkke Munk
                                                                                                                          Pedersen, Maja Lindstrøm Hansen, Maria Rokkedahl
                           Sustainable Fashion is published by the Laboratory for Design, Innovation and Sustaina-        Nørholm, Marie Louise Udby Blicher, Mathilde Louise
– Issues to be addressed

                           bility at Kolding School of Design. The objective of the Laboratory is to develop new teach-   Maalouf Christensen, Mette Löwén, Niviaq Binzer Kris-
Sustainable Fashion

                           ing methods and modes of communication as well as provide spaces for experimenting,            tensen, Randi Samsonsen, Rosa Tolnov Clausen,
                           alternate ways of thinking and working with bold ideas across the educational sector, the      Sarah Mi Svendsen, Tanja Lund.
                           business sector and cultural institutions. The Laboratory is funded by The European Fund
                           for Regional Development through Vækstforum / The Region of Southern Denmark.                  We kindly thank
                                                                                                                          Ms. Reiko Sudo, textile designer, Director of NUNO,
                                                                                                                          Mr. Ikeda and Ms. Nakajima of TEIJIN.
DK: Lab

                                                                                                                          Without their support and inspiration the project
                                                                                                                          100 % Polyester would not have been possible.

Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Table of Content
                                   DK:Lab Sustainable Fashion – Issues to be addressed

                              Sustainable Fashion – Sustainability as a Mindset
                                                     By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,
                                    Head of Development, Kolding School of Design

                    Teaching sustainable design to textile and fashion students
                                            - from a micro and macro perspective
                                                               By Vibeke Riisberg

                                                 ECO CIRCLE polyester project
                                                               By Joy Boutrup

                                                     Fashion and Sustainability
                                                                By Kate Fletcher

                                                                             P 42
                                                     Sustainable = Fashionable
                                                                   By Lene Hald


                                                                                         – Issues to be addressed
Considerate Design: Empowering fashion designers to think about sustainability

                                                                                         Sustainable Fashion
                                             By Sandy Black and Claudia Eckert

                                                        The role of the designer
                                                        By Line Hangaard Nielsen

                                                                                                            DK: Lab
                           100% Polyester – the TEIJIN ECO CIRCLE PROJECT
                                                             - Student designs

Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
    DK: Lab   Sustainable Fashion                        By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,                                                                                               Sustainable Fashion
              – Issues to be addressed   Head of Development, Kolding School of Design                                                                                    – Sustainability as a Mindset

                                                                                         By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,
                                         Head of Development, Kolding School of Design
                                                                                                                      Sustainable Fashion – Sustainability as a Mindset
Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion                        By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,              Sustainable Fashion

    DK: Lab   – Issues to be addressed   Head of Development, Kolding School of Design   – Sustainability as a Mindset
Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion
– Sustainability as a Mindset

                                                I love fashion, darling! A lot of us appreciate the way     ers do not doubt the significance of these aspects        the small steps that, when put together, can create
                By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,
Head of Development, Kolding School of Design

                                                fashion enables us to play with identities. One day         in relation to the creation of a modern identity and      large changes through streamlining, rationalisation
                                                we wear a 1950s inspired dress looking like some-           communication of that identity. However, it is hard-      and minimising of resources. Radical innovation,
                                                one from the TV show ”Mad Men”, the next day we             ly vital, and not many would permanently trade their      on the other hand, is something entirely different.
                                                have on a pair of jeans, a small black dress or some-       access to food with the possibility to acquire a fash-    Here, one creates a completely new foundation
                                                thing completely different. The point is that I recog-      ionable garment – although I too have read the ef-        for speaking about and doing things; one exam-
                                                nise the fact that fashion is important and essential.      ficient self-branding of the fashion people telling       ple could be the Internet’s influence on our ability
                                                Fashion reflects our time, gives the user the oppor-        stories of how, back in the day, one would eat oat-       to communicate globally; or the Cradle-To-Cradle
                                                tunity to play with different identities and in some        meal for three weeks just to be able to purchase this     mindset, which consciously focuses on not creating
                                                cases, although few, fashion can be equated with an         season’s must-have bag.                                   waste and instead, having everything enter an eter-
                                                artistic experience. However, the majority of fash-                                                                   nal cycle of recirculation. This is a vision of consider-
                                                ion – and the various fashion brands – is primarily         Where am I going with this? Well, if fashion is not       able proportions: wanting to eliminate the concept
                                                commercial; that is to say a business that someone          outright vital, we should carefully consider the way      of waste and instead, refer to industrial and natural
                                                has to live and make money on. When everything              the fashion industry impacts our already damaged          recycling, respectively. In the industrial cycle, the
                                                comes together in an artistic vision, a craftsman           planet. In other words, we must take action and a         materials have to be able to be disassembled into
                                                prowess or a technical skill, fashion is definitely a       closer look at one of the most polluting industries       individual components, whereas the natural cycle
                                                wonderful thing.                                            worldwide. We must innovate the way the fashion           can easily create a decorative abundance of ma-
– Issues to be addressed

                                                                                                            industry conducts its business, both when it comes        terial and then disintegrate into harmless individual
Sustainable Fashion

                                                However, at the risk of being lynched by all the            to production, choice of materials and disposal.          parts that re-enter the cycle of nature. For instance,
                                                world’s fashion editors, I will state that fashion is not   Kate Fletcher, author of the trendsetting book            the flowering cherry tree, which for a short period
                                                vital. When looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,         ‘Sustainable Fashion and Textiles - Design Journeys’,     of time produces many beautiful flowers, only to
                                                where the physiological needs for obvious reasons           puts it this way: ”Business as usual or, more to the      have them wither away – but this “waste” is mere-
                                                (survival) form the basis, there is quite a long way to     point, fashion as usual is not an option”.                ly a natural element in an eco-system. The point is
                                                self-realisation and the need for free, individual ex-                                                                that one solution is not better than another. The in-
DK: Lab

                                                pression through clothes, accessories and gadgets.          In general, there are two kinds of innovation: incre-     tention is not to commune with nature like we did in
                                                20th and 21st century sociologists and consum-              mental and radical. The first kind can be identified as   pre-industrial times. Indeed, what is appealing about

Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion
                                                           – Sustainability as a Mindset
the Cradle-to-Cradle mindset is that traditional dog-

                                                                           By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,
                                                           Head of Development, Kolding School of Design
ma about ”good” and ”bad” is abandoned. In oth-
er words, natural cotton is not necessarily the most
eco-friendly material, and polyester is not by defini-
tion eco-hostile just because it is synthetically pro-
duced. In order to produce 1 kilo of cotton one uses
an average of 8000 litres of water, whereas one is
able to produce 1 kilo of polyester using hardly any
water. On the other hand, polyester fibres are made
from oil, and particularly the petrochemical industry
is known for its huge global impact politically, social-
ly and environmentally.

My reference to cotton and polyester is not coinci-
dental: From the world’s total textile fibre consump-
tion of 59.5 million tonnes in 2005, cotton makes up
24.4 and polyester 24.7 million tonnes. Thus, these

                                                           – Issues to be addressed
two textile materials comprise the vast majority of

                                                           Sustainable Fashion
the world’s total textile production, and another sus-
tainable way forward could be to begin contemplat-
ing more diversity and hence less vulnerability in
relation to exploitation of the soil, crop failure, etc.
in the case of cotton, and less dependency on fossil
fuels in the case of polyester. With reference to the

                                                                                     DK: Lab
H.C. Andersen tale The Woman with the Eggs, it is
never wise to put all one’s eggs in one basket!

Sustainable Fashion - Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion
– Sustainability as a Mindset

                                                Discussing sustainability and textile production is        The results are presented in this publication, and we        References
                By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,
Head of Development, Kolding School of Design

                                                indeed a complicated matter, which requires re-            hope they speak for themselves – also in relation to         Kate Fletcher Sustainable Fashion & Textiles
                                                search in order to be able to understand the com-          the exciting and challenging design problems with-           – Design Journeys – Earthscan, 2008
                                                plexity. The Cradle-to-Cradle mindset can help us          in the entire area of sustainability. It is a far cry from   William McDonough & Michael Braungart Cradle-to-Cradle.
                                                understand that one has to consider the entire life        the ”long-haired” eco-clothes made from hemp                 Remaking the Way We Make Things – North Point Press, 2002
                                                cycle of the product, not just from cradle to grave        that we saw in the 1970s to the modern versions of
                                                but from cradle to cradle. In this respect, polyes-        sexy, sustainable fashion. We hope that in the long
                                                ter is an interesting material in that all polyester has   run, sustainability will become an integral part of a
                                                the potential to be recycled. Because polyester, like      designer’s mindset, so we will no longer have to ad-
                                                many other synthetic materials, has been perceived         dress the issue of sustainability as something quite
                                                as a replacement and second-rate material, it also         unique.
                                                presents an interesting challenge design-wise.
                                                                                                           Apart from the student suggestions for sustainable
                                                This material and aesthetic challenge was presented        fashion items, the publication includes a number
                                                to a number of fashion and textile design students at      of articles by experts of sustainability from Den-
                                                Kolding School of Design during a course in autumn         mark and abroad, practitioners as well as theoreti-
                                                2009. Based on the new polyester recycling Eco             cians. Kolding School of Design and the Laboratory
– Issues to be addressed

                                                Circle concept by the Japanese company TEIJIN,             for Design, Innovation and Sustainability – which is
Sustainable Fashion

                                                the students were asked to develop a complete de-          also part of the Danish Fashion Zone – hope that this
                                                sign concept, which encourages consumers to re-            book will help attract attention to the important is-
                                                turn used clothes for recycling. At the same time,         sue of Sustainable Fashion – because in the end it is
                                                they were to work with laser cutting, transfer print       indeed a question of design.
                                                and direct print onto the material. The assignment
                                                for the future designers was to adopt sustainabili-        Finally, I would like to give a warm thank you to the
DK: Lab

                                                ty as a mindset and focus on making aesthetics and         writers, teachers and students.
                                                sustainability come together naturally.

Sustainable Fashion                        By Mette Strømgaard Dalby,              Sustainable Fashion
               – Issues to be addressed   Head of Development, Kolding School of Design   – Sustainability as a Mindset

     DK: Lab
DK: Lab   Sustainable Fashion                                                                                                                                  By Vibeke Riisberg   Teaching sustainable design to

               – Issues to be addressed                                                                                                                                                     textile and fashion students

                                          By Vibeke Riisberg
                                                               - from a micro and macro perspective
                                                                                                      Teaching sustainable design to textile and fashion students
Foto: Sacha Maric, © Exhibition Professionals.

                                                           Sustainable Fashion        By Vibeke Riisberg   Teaching sustainable design to
                                                           – Issues to be addressed                           textile and fashion students

                                                 DK: Lab
Teaching sustainable design to
   textile and fashion students

                                  Teaching sustainable design is a complex subject         described this way: “Designers often understand an         Kolding School of Design has upgraded its general
                                  with no definitive answers. It demands the teach-        intellectual problem through acting and/or creat-          curricula to focus more intensively on sustainability,
                                  er’s reflection of the didactic approach in order to     ing, which can be described as a micro perspective         and the students’ own commitment to working with
                                  find ways to engage students in an enthusiastic and      with origins in the arts and craft tradition. Today, the   sustainable design solutions in BA and MA projects
                                  pleasurable learning process. In 1992, Textile Engi-     course is offered to second-year fashion and tex-          has significantly increased over the past ten years.
                                  neer Joy Boutrup and I set out on this task initiating   tile students and is approached from a micro per-
By Vibeke Riisberg

                                  our first course in sustainable textile design. Since    spective but also introduces elements of a macro           This is good news because more than ever we need
                                  then, we have developed and adjusted the course          perspective. Starting simultaneously with a material       to address the problems of how to create a more
                                  in collaboration with colleagues, mainly Annette An-     based design process and lectures on material sci-         sustainable future. Design is key to this process, be-
                                  dresen who joined us in 2002. During the years, we       ence, environmental issues are presented gradually         cause its inherent nature is to create visions for the
                                  have also established valuable knowledge exchange        during the course introducing the principles of Cra-       future. Designers also have an ethical responsibil-
                                  through our international network.                       dle-to-Cradle thinking and ways for making a sim-          ity, since many of the products we create function
                                                                                           plified Life Cycle Assessment. This holistic way of        as the driving force of consumption in Western so-
                                  The initial course was to a great extent informed by     working seems to give life to creativity and also to       cieties, which often act as role models to the rest of
                                  a macro perspective looking at the design system:        prevent a loss of perspective in the overwhelming          the world. As Graedel et al. already pointed out in
                                  the manufacturers, the production line, the use of       amount of information and challenges” (Leerberg,           1995, designers can help save valuable resources:
                                  resources, pollution etc. However, it soon became        Riisberg, Boutrup, 2010).                                  But at the same time it is important to focus on how
                                  clear that these types of facts worked counterpro-                                                                  to change our current ways of consumption in order
                                  ductive to the creativity of our students. Thus, we      We believe that the course provides the students           to avoid ending up leading an ascetic lifestyle with
                                  changed perspective and decided to emphasise up-         with embodied experience and knowledge that                no aesthetic products to enjoy. In our teaching we
                                  coming and new, available technology that might          gradually opens up to an understanding of the more         emphasise that a product which nobody wants to
                                  bring about a more sustainable future. We also           abstract macro perspectives of sustainability. During      buy cannot be sustainable. Any production, howev-
– Issues to be addressed

                                  made stronger efforts to present the dawning ef-         the last few years, we have noticed that more and          er ecological, consumes resources, which are wast-
Sustainable Fashion

                                  fects of design networks like O2 and to find exam-       more students continue to work with methods and            ed if the product is taken directly from production to
                                  ples of manufactures striving to develop sustainable     ideas generated during the course. E.g. during one         disposal. The end consumer, cultural aspects, price,
                                  products and services. In this way, focus was shift-     semester, several students used their spare time to        etc. must be taken into account, as well as sustaina-
                                  ed, and we acknowledged that design students are         elaborate on projects from the sustainable design          bility, functionality and the product fulfilment of con-
                                  better off learning about sustainable issues in bodily   course in order to be able to participate in the com-      sumer needs and wants.
                                  ways than through negative facts and abstract mod-       petition ‘Innovating Sustainable Fashion’ arranged
DK: Lab

                                  els. In a recent article, co-authored by Malene Leer-    in connection with the COP 15 meeting in Copenha-
                                  berg, the progression of our pedagogical efforts are     gen 2009.

Teaching sustainable design to
                                                                                                                           textile and fashion students
                                                                                                                        By Vibeke Riisberg
                                                                                                                        – Issues to be addressed
                                                                                                                        Sustainable Fashion
Waterproof cape, biodegradable – the first prototype and one
of the final outfits at the COP15 fashion show. ‘The Rain Protection

                                                                                                                                             DK: Lab
Project’ was created by Camilla Skøtt Christensen, Lea Parkins Ben-
jaminsen and Randi Samsonsen.

                                                                       Foto: Sacha Maric, © Exhibition Professionals.
Teaching sustainable design to
   textile and fashion students

                                  ‘The singing cicada’s final song’ – a summer collection of compostable textiles
                                  created by Nora Olafsdatter Krogh, MA graduation project 2009.
By Vibeke Riisberg
– Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion
DK: Lab

Teaching sustainable design to
                                                            textile and fashion students
  “We will have to be

                                                         By Vibeke Riisberg
 more sensitive to the
 effect of things on us
 and to be aware of the
implications that come
  with possessions”

                                                         – Issues to be addressed
                                                         Sustainable Fashion
        Anni Albers, textile designer, Bauhaus teacher

                                                                              DK: Lab
“We touch things to assure ourselves of reality”
Teaching sustainable design to
   textile and fashion students

                                  Anni Albers
By Vibeke Riisberg

                                  Extending curricula
                                  In 2008, Kolding School of Design set up a ’Labo-        ion items to a great number of international fash-
                                  ratory for Design, Innovation and Sustainability’        ion companies. Eurotex has a production of organic
                                  with the objective of bringing together the dynam-       cotton in India, and one element in the assignment
                                  ics of education, innovation, research and the busi-     was to work on how organic cotton might acquire
                                  ness world. Soon after, it was decided to extend         ’added value’ through design. During the course,
                                  the curricula in sustainable design, and among oth-      the students worked in groups, each creating a col-
                                  er initiatives we introduced a new course offered to     lection of 1:1 outfits based on a common idea for a
                                  third-year fashion and textiles students. Our inten-     more sustainable fashion concept.
                                  tion was to give the students a broader global per-
                                  spective on the design profession by connecting a        The outcome was first presented to Eurotex and
                                  design assignment in sustainable fashion with know-      since to a wider audience at an international semi-
                                  ledge of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and       nar on sustainable fashion at Trapholt Art Museum.
                                  global production.                                       On both occasions, the students received positive
– Issues to be addressed

                                                                                           responses to their projects, but during the following
Sustainable Fashion

                                  I was happy to accept this challenge, and together       internal evaluation, it became clear that too many
                                  with my colleague, Fashion Designer Ulla Ræbild, set     complex issues had been presented in too short a
                                  out to describe a four-week project with the Dan-        period of time, thus leaving both the students and
                                  ish company Eurotex Apparel as partner. Eurotex          teachers frustrated. Therefore, we decided to rein-
                                  has its headquarters in Kolding, production facilities   vent the course and split it in two modules – one
                                  in China, India, Bangladesh and sales offices in Den-    focusing on CSR and global production, the other
DK: Lab

                                  mark, the UK and South Africa. Eurotex does not          restricted to design for recycling working with only
                                  have its own brand but provides ready-to-wear fash-      one material: polyester.

The ECO CIRCLE project

                                                                                                                                                                                     Teaching sustainable design to
                                                                                                                                                                                        textile and fashion students
Why did we choose to focus on polyester and                  fibre blends. Add to that waterproof coatings, trim-        The Japanese company TEIJIN has developed a
recycling? First of all, we did so because polyester         mings, zippers, buttons etc. made in other materials        new method for recycling PET, which is environmen-
accounts for the largest share of fibre consumption          (e.g. metal), and you end up with a complex product         tally attractive because it reduces oil consumption
in the world, namely about 40%. Second of all, it is         that is impossible or very difficult to recycle.            and CO2 remarkably compared to the production
made from oil – a limited non-renewable resource.                                                                        of virgin polyester.2 TEIJIN has also set up a closed
Thus, the sustainable perspective of recycling is            If you manage to recycle part of the garment, the           loop system called ECO CIRCLE based on member-
evident given that the process does not consume              resulting material is of a much lower quality than          ship by companies who are committed to return-
more energy or pollute more than virgin materials.           virgin materials and thus makes recycling less at-          ing the polyester garments for recycling at TEIJIN’s
Finally, polyester offers the designer a great               tractive from an economical point of view. But it is        plant in Japan. In 2009, there were about 110 mem-

                                                                                                                                                                                     By Vibeke Riisberg
number of aesthetic possibilities to create beauti-          possible to change this situation – at least for some       bers worldwide, one of the most well known being
ful garments – just think of Issey Miyake’s ‘Pleats          types of garments – if the designer chooses a single        the sportswear company Patagonia. In the future,
Please’ collections and other Japanese designers             material for the whole garment, e.g. polyester.             more recycling plants will be constructed on other
like Yoshiko Hishinuma and Reiko Sudo.1                      We wanted to make this perspective tangible to our          continents minimising the transportation distance.
                                                             students by applying TEIJIN’s ECO CIRCLE concept            But since there are no laws that command recycling
Today, hardly any of the garments we find in the             as a framework for the new sustainable design mo-           of polyester, the TEIJIN initiative needs the support
shops are made from only one material; most are              dule offered to our third-year fashion and textile          of companies, designers and consumers alike in or-
constructed of several fabrics in different fibres or        students.                                                   der to expand.

The ECO-Circle® complete recycling system

                                                                                                                                                                                     – Issues to be addressed
                                                                                                                                                                                     Sustainable Fashion
Recyclable products                                                                  Users
                                                       Member                                                  Member                                Used products collected and
Design for easy recycling for                       Manufacturers,                                          Manufacturers,
the whole life cycle of each                         retailers, etc.                                         retailers, etc.                          transported to Teijin plants
product is required

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DK: Lab
                                                                             Regenerated into new
                                                                                polyester fibre

Teaching sustainable design to
   textile and fashion students

                                   “... more than ever
                                   we need to address
                                  the problems of how
By Vibeke Riisberg

                                     to create a more
                                   sustainable future.
                                  Design is key to this
                                  process, because its
                                    inherent nature is
– Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion

                                  to create visions for
                                       the future.”
DK: Lab

                                           Vibeke Riisberg

Teaching sustainable design to
                                                                                                                textile and fashion students
                                                                                                             By Vibeke Riisberg
                                                                                                             – Issues to be addressed
                                                                                                             Sustainable Fashion
The Square Project – a collection of unisex and transformable garments, which can be worn in several ways.

                                                                                                                                  DK: Lab
The project was created by Anna Ebbesen, Benedicte Holmboe, Elin Sjøgren, Ruth Enoksen, Siff Nielsen,
Tina Gabrijelcic and Mette Gliemann.

The assignment
Teaching sustainable design to
   textile and fashion students

                                  For the ECO CIRCLE project we collaborated with                  To inspire the students, Reiko Sudo most kindly sent          Thus, we may conclude that by introducing TEIJIN’s
                                  Silvio Vujicic, a talented young fashion designer liv-           us a number of poetic statements. She also helped             ECO CIRCLE concept to our students, they gained
                                  ing in Zagreb, Croatia. Silvio has visited Kolding               establish the contact to TEIJIN, so the students              new knowledge of sustainable system thinking –
                                  School of Design many times as a most appreciated                could actually work with a fabric made of recycled            the macro perspective – and through their design
                                  guest lecturer always eager to educate the students              polyester. This ECO CIRCLE fabric, also used for the          projects learned new exiting techniques to manipu-
                                  and himself, especially regarding new textile tech-              pleated NUNO bag designed by Reiko Sudo, is con-              late and decorate polyester along with draping and
                                  niques.3  Together, we planned the course taking                 structed as a plain weave that can be used for many           shaping different polyester fabrics into 3D form –
                                  advantage of our different fields of expertise.                  purposes because of its medium weight.                        the micro perspective. The students worked with
                                                                                                                                                                 great enthusiasm and produced a wide range of
By Vibeke Riisberg

                                  We agreed on one core issue for the assignment,                  The fabric has a crisp hand, which is well suited for         spectacular garment expressions – all included in
                                  stated as a simple “Dogma rule”: Make garments that              shibori, pleating and laser cutting and turned out to         this book. We would like to thank our students; we
                                  are 100% polyester. This also included sewing thread,            react well with our range of disperse dyes. Since we          are proud of them. Their projects show how poly-
                                  linings, trimmings, buttons, zippers, press studs etc.           had a limited amount of the ECO CIRCLE fabric avail-          ester garments designed for recycling can be both
                                  so the garment could be easily recycled. In addition,            able, the students also used other fabrics made of            beautiful and fun.
                                  we asked the students to come up with a concept to               100% polyester.
                                  stimulate the collection of used garments.                                                                                     We also hope this project has inspired TEIJIN and
                                                                                                   Coda                                                          would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Yuichiro
                                  The first day of the course we dedicated to lectures             When evaluating the course it became clear that               Ikeda and Mrs. Reiko Sudo. Without their support
                                  on sustainability and recycling, perspectives on poly-           three weeks is a very limited time for this assign-           and inspiration this project would not have been
                                  ester, its history and properties, including inspiring           ment. Nevertheless, all the groups managed to for-            possible, and we look forward to continuing the col-
                                  examples of fashion designers using polyester in dif-            mulate short statements for stimulating the users to          laboration when we begin the next course in Sep-
                                  ferent textile techniques and TEIJIN’s ECO CIRCLE                return the garment for recycling and produced out-            tember 2010.
                                  concept. During the next three weeks, the 30 stu-                fits in 1:1 scale. In addition, all students made a fab-
                                  dents worked in small teams, and the teaching took               ric sample library of the different textile techniques
                                  place most of the time in the workshops and at the               introduced during the course.
– Issues to be addressed

                                  students’ desks.
Sustainable Fashion

                                  1 — Reiko Sudo, Textile Designer, Director of the Japanese company NUNO was the key note speaker at the international
                                       seminar ’Textiles, Ornament, Light and Interior Space’, Kolding School of Design, spring 2009. During Mrs. Sudo’s
                                       visit, our idea for the ECO CIRCLE project became realistic, since she offered to help establish the contact to TEIJIN.
                                  2 — For more details, please refer to Joy Boutrup’s article.
DK: Lab

                                  3 — Silvio always experiments in unexpected ways and the results are stunning, beautiful garments that thoroughly
                                       combine textile techniques and 3D form to a coherent whole. See:

Teaching sustainable design to
                                                                                                                                             textile and fashion students
                                   Vibeke Riisberg is an Associate Professor at Kolding School of Design. She is
                                   trained as a textile designer and holds a PhD in design from Aarhus School of Archi-
                                   tecture. She has worked with issues of sustainable textile design for many years.
                                   Her recent research deals with developing new solutions for adjusting daylight in
                                   office buildings and user centered design in order to create better “healing” envi-
                                   ronments in hospitals

                                                                                                                                          By Vibeke Riisberg

                                                                                                                                          – Issues to be addressed
Albers A. 2000 (1943): Designing. In B. Danilowitz (ed.). 2000.   Leerberg, Riisberg, Boutrup (2010): Design Responsibility and Sus-

                                                                                                                                          Sustainable Fashion
Anni Albers: Selected Writings on Design. Wesleyan University     tainable Design as Reflective Practice: An Educational Challenge.
Press: Middletown: pp. 17-21.                                     Sustainable Development, July/August 2010, Volume 18, Issue 4.
Braungart M. & McDonough W. (2002): Cradle to cradle              John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
– rethinking the way we make things. North Point Press            NUNO: &
Fletcher Kate (2008): Sustainable Fashion & Textiles,   
Design Journeys. Earthscan                                        TEIJIN ECO CIRCLE:

                                                                                                                                                               DK: Lab
Graedel, T.E. et al. (1995): Green Product Design.      
AT&T Technical Journal (November/December): 17-24.

ECO CIRCLE polyester project
By Joy Boutrup

                                                  ECO CIRCLE polyester project
                               Fashion and textile design project with recycled and recyclable polyester
                                                           By Joy Boutrup
– Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion
DK: Lab

Sustainable Fashion        By Joy Boutrup   ECO CIRCLE polyester project
               – Issues to be addressed

     DK: Lab
Introduction                                            source. Since the production of polyester started in
ECO CIRCLE polyester project

                               The following article contains the background and       the mid 20th century, the production methods have
                               basis knowledge introduced in the course ‘100%          undergone several changes towards less waste of
                               Polyester’. In order to understand the aim and im-      resources, better catalysts and fewer by-products.
                               pact of the ECO CIRCLE concept, several facts           The two schematic flow charts show the older meth-
                               regarding polyester have to be understood, and the      od of polyester production (DMT method) and the
                               different methods available for the designer in order   newer, more economical and less polluting method
                               to obtain colours, structures and surface features      (PTA method), respectively. Both methods are still
                               have to be trained and mastered.                        in use.
By Joy Boutrup

                               Definition, history and production                      As can be seen from the flow charts, the recent
                               Within the textile field, “polyester” is the general    method consists of fewer steps and has fewer
                               term applied for synthetic fibres of PET, an abbrevi-   sources of raw material. The energy and resource
                               ation of polyethylene terephthalate. This material is   demands are also much lower. In the meantime,
                               also widely used in other objects outside the textile   other types of terephthalates have been introduced
                               field such as bottles for beverages, fibre reinforced   in the plastics industry as well as in the textile field.
                               composite materials, transparent sheets, buttons,       These new types, called PTT and PBT, are softer and
                               zippers etc.                                            more elastic than PET. As of yet, they only hold a
                                                                                       small share of the market; the main bulk is still PET.
                               The material was first synthesised in 1941, and the     These newer types of polyester are made by using
                               first fibres were developed by a joint enterprise by    alcohols that are partly produced by fermentation
                               I.C.I in Britain and Dupont de Nemours & Co. in the     of sugar or starch, thus making the fibres halfway
                               USA. The market share of polyester fibres has grown     bio-synthetic. In view of the high market share of
                               steadily since it was first introduced, and since       PET in textiles feasible methods for recycling the
                               1999, polyester fibres have had the largest mar-        material will have a high environmental impact. This
                               ket share in the world’s total textile consumption.     impact will be especially important in relation to the
– Issues to be addressed

                               Its share today (2010), is more than 40% of the to-     consumption of non-renewable resources during
Sustainable Fashion

                               tal consumption of around 52 million metric tonnes      production of PET from mineral oil.
                               of textiles.
                                                                                       Recycling of PET
                               An ester is a condensation product between an al-       The first attempts at recycling PET fibres were to re-
                               cohol and an acid. PET polyester is made from an        use them for filling blankets e.g. by collecting used
                               alcohol called ethylene glycol and an acid called       textiles, opening them and separating them into fi-
DK: Lab

                               terephthalic acid. Both components are derived          bres. In that context, there were no high demands
                               from mineral oil and thus not from a renewable re-      regarding purity or strength of the material.

ECO CIRCLE polyester project
    DMT line of production:                                                                                        PTA line of production:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        By Joy Boutrup
        Air              Coal              Water                                                   Salt                 Air                                                                             Salt
                                                                      Mineral oil                                                                                         Mineral oil
                                                                     or naturalgas                                                                                       or naturalgas

Carbonmonoxide        Hydrogen                 Nitrogen


        Methanol                 Nitric acid              p-xylene      Ethylene        Chlorine          Alkali        Acetic acid                            p-xylol      Ethylene         Chlorine          Alkali

                                        Terephthalic acid

                                                                                                                                      Pure Terephthalic acid                             Ethylene glycol

              Dim ethylterephthalate DMT                                               Ethylenglycol

                                                Terephthalic acid di-glycolester

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        – Issues to be addressed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sustainable Fashion
                                       Polyethyleneterephtalate        PET Polyester                                                         Polyethyleneterephtalate      PET Polyester

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       DK: Lab
DK: Lab   Sustainable Fashion        By Joy Boutrup   ECO CIRCLE polyester project

               – Issues to be addressed
The next method was to collect, clean and melt           cycling. Until now, the project only comprises TEIJIN

                                                                                                                                                                   ECO CIRCLE polyester project
Shibori process,
Maria Rokkedahl Nørholm & Anna Kristine Borg   used beverage bottles and extrude the melted pol-        polyester, but one can hope that more companies
                                               yester as fibres. The bottles have often been used       will follow suit in near future.
                                               several times before being collected for recycling,
                                               which means that the polyester is often damaged,         Properties and techniques
                                               i.e. reduced in strength. The cleaning and melting       Polyester is a thermoplastic material, which means
                                               process is energy demanding, and the final fibres        that it can be shaped by means of heat. It has no up-
                                               are less durable and not as strong as new polyester.     take of moisture or water, the material is not hygro-
                                               In textile production these fibres have to be mixed      scopic and the surface is hydrophobic. This attribute
                                               with new polyester in order to obtain an acceptable      is an advantage in regards to some purposes, but for

                                                                                                                                                                   By Joy Boutrup
                                               quality. The main applications for these fibres are in   others the almost non-existing moisture uptake in gar-
                                               knitted fleece materials for insulating jackets.         ments can cause problems with proper transporta-
                                                                                                        tion of body evaporation if insufficient air is enclosed
                                                                                                        in the textile structure. Some companies have de-

“No aspect of our lives seems                                                                           veloped combinations of polyester with hygroscop-
                                                                                                        ic materials in order to regulate the moisture uptake,
untouched by textiles”                                                  Kathryn L. Hatch                and some have even developed fibres with special
                                                                                                        properties regarding shape and ventilation for sports-
                                                                                                        wear e.g. TEIJIN in cooperation with Nike1.

                                               In 2001, the Japanese company TEIJIN introduced a        On the other hand, polyester textiles possess good
                                               new method for recycling PET polyester. The details of   shape retention, are easy to wash and dry due to
                                               the method are not published but it includes decom-      the low absorption of water, do not crinkle or shrink
                                               posing polyester into two main components: ethylene      and are not in need of ironing after washing.
                                               glycol and terephthalic acid. Dye and other contami-     The hydrophobic nature of the fibre can, howev-
                                               nation are then cleansed from the two components,        er, cause the textile to absorb fatty substances and

                                                                                                                                                                   – Issues to be addressed
                                               and they are conclusively combined into PET poly-        make soil and smells difficult to remove. A saponifi-

                                                                                                                                                                   Sustainable Fashion
                                               ester, which has the same quality as new polyester.      cation of the surface with strong alkali can counter-
                                                                                                        act the problem.
                                               This new method, called “ECO CIRCLE”, reduces
                                               the energy demand by 84% and the CO2 emission            The popularity of polyester in the textile industry
                                               by 77% compared to the production of polyester           – and with the consumers as well – is especially due
                                               from mineral oil. It requires and involves a network     to the strength, durability and versatility of the ma-

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DK: Lab
                                               of companies from all over the world to sign up for      terial. Polyester fibres are strong, have very good
                                               and send back garments of TEIJIN polyester for re-       abrasion properties and high tenacity.

ECO CIRCLE polyester project

                                                                                                                                                                                   Transfer print,
                               Polyester fibres are available in a wide range of thick-      The dye can only penetrate into the fibre when the         Laura Locher & Anne Woidemann Christiansen
                               nesses, cross sections and levels of gloss.                   fibre is softened by high temperatures. The temper-
                               The properties can be adapted to most textile appli-          ature needed for dyeing polyester is above 130° C
                               cations in home furnishing, apparel and transporta-           which is not possible without high pressure. Polyester
                               tion. For instance, the extremely fine fibres in micro        can also be dyed at temperatures around 100° C if a
                               fibre polyester produce a textile with a softness and         so called “carrier” is used. Both dyeing methods are
                               drape similar to silk, while the thicker fibres can pro-      not suitable under simple conditions as carriers are
                               vide the strength and durability demanded in protec-          poisonous and environmentally very damaging (the
                               tive wear.                                                    use of carriers should be banned in near future), and
By Joy Boutrup

                                                                                             the high temperatures cannot be reached except un-
                               A whole range of different techniques for changing            der pressure.
                               surface, colour, structure or drape are available for
                               the textile and fashion designers. They are all based         There is the possibility, though, to dye and print poly-
                               on the special properties of polyester. The thermo            ester by using brands developed for transfer printing.
                                plasticity makes it possible to shape the textiles           Disperse dyes have special fastness properties;
                               in pleats, folds and spikes with a hot press or with          some are very sensitive to exhaust gases and air
                               steam. The melting properties of the material makes           pollution, and some have the ability to sublime when
                               it suitable for laser cutting as the heat of the laser will   heated. Subliming is the transition from solid state
                               melt a narrow zone on both sides of the cut and thus          to gaseous state without any intermediate state as a
                               seal the edges. Slits and holes can be cut into the           liquid. The gas state can move rapidly into other ma-
                               fabric, and shapes can be cut out of the fabric with          terials, and dyed or printed material will stain when
                               edges which will not fray in use.                             for example ironed.

                               Dyeing and printing                                           The ability to sublime has been used commercially
                               Polyester can only be dyed and printed with dis-              for transfer printing. The dyes are printed onto pa-
– Issues to be addressed

                               perse dyes. Disperse dyes were originally devel-              per, and the dye is transferred by means of contact
Sustainable Fashion

                               oped for cellulose acetate fibres but have since              and heat onto textiles. This is considered to cause a
                               been adapted to polyester and other synthetic ma-             low environmental impact as there is no use of wa-
                               terial. The dyes are insoluble in water and have to           ter after the papers have been printed. The textile
                               be finely dispersed in the dye bath or print paste            needs no washing after the transfer process as only
                               when used. The name of the dyestuff class is de-              pure dyestuff has been transferred. Residues of
                               rived from this. The dyes normally come with a dis-           dyes are on the paper and can easily be incinerated.
DK: Lab

                               persing agent included, so that an even distribution
                               of the dyes is made easy for the user.

Sustainable Fashion        By Joy Boutrup   ECO CIRCLE polyester project
               – Issues to be addressed

     DK: Lab
Joy Boutrup is an Associate Professor at Kolding School of Design. She is trained
ECO CIRCLE polyester project

                                                                as a textile engineer with specialty in textile chemistry. She has worked with the
                                                                structure, properties and application of textiles for many years, both as a research-
                                                                er and as a teacher. Her recent research deals with developing new solutions for
                                                                adjusting daylight in office buildings.

By Joy Boutrup

                               Kathryn L. Hatch: Textile Science, West Publishing Company, 1993.
                               Søren Ellebæk Laursen, John Hansen et al.:
                               Environmental Assessment of Textiles, Danish Ministry of Environment and Energy, Denmark, 1997.

                               The disperse dyes have been separated into groups                        The dye bath can be used again until exhausted,
                               with different tendency to sublime. Some have very                       which also helps encourage sustainability.
                               high subliming fastness and cannot be used for trans-
                               fer printing; other brands have the ability and are sold                 The historical perspective on polyester and knowl-
                               especially for transfer printing. These dyes have per-                   edge of textile material science is presented in lec-
                               manently low subliming fastness, and this must be ta-                    tures; it is rather abstract and presents a macro level
                               ken into consideration in the further treatment of the                   of sustainable issues. Much of the information is lat-
                               material and in the end use and maintenance of the                       er connected to practice during the conversations
                               product. The dye will continue to have the property                      in the workshop, when the students make samples
– Issues to be addressed

                               to move from one material to another when heated.                        at the drawing table reflecting on form, draping 3D
Sustainable Fashion

                                                                                                        shapes and considering which technique to choose
                               Experiments have shown that it is possible to dye                        for surface interest, colour and decoration. Thus, it
                               with transfer brands as well. The dyes will give an ac-                  becomes part of the design process in an organic
                               ceptable colour yield at boiling temperature; very                       way as textile science is repeated and explained in
                               dark colours are not obtainable, though. No further                      relation to the design process at a micro level.
                               additions than the dyestuff are needed for the dye-
DK: Lab

                               ing process if the water is not alkaline; acetic acid
                               can be used for neutralising the water if necessary.                     1 —

Sustainable Fashion        By Joy Boutrup   ECO CIRCLE polyester project
               – Issues to be addressed

     DK: Lab
DK: Lab   Sustainable Fashion                                                        By Kate Fletcher   Fashion and Sustainability

               – Issues to be addressed

                                          By Kate Fletcher
                                                             Fashion and Sustainability
Sustainable Fashion        By Kate Fletcher   Fashion and Sustainability
               – Issues to be addressed

     DK: Lab
Most of us know what fashion is. Many of us know           polyester are extracted; and ends up in homes, on
Fashion and Sustainability

                             what sustainability is. But when it comes to explor-       our bodies and in landfill sites continents away from
                             ing the relationship between the two, we can very          where they started out. The journey in between in-
                             quickly find ourselves on new ground. For the rela-        volves the use of lots of labour, water, energy and
                             tionship between fashion and sustainability is active      processing chemicals and produces waste and pol-
                             and complex and each time we look at the key ideas         lution. Indeed in a recent pollution risk assessment
                             or issues at stake, different aspects seem to come         by the UK’s Environment Agency, the fashion and
                             to light. Sometimes what is emphasized is technical        textile industry was rated worst.
                             information about toxic chemicals or working con-
                             ditions in mills and factories on the other side of the    Thus it makes sense that sustainable fashion acti-
By Kate Fletcher

                             world. At other times, the fashion and sustainabi-         vity is underpinned by a deep awareness of the use
                             lity relationship seems best understood by looking         of resources and how these resources are organ-
                             at what goes on locally: networks of handcrafters;         ized to meet people’s needs. Central to this is “life-
                             dyes made from species of plant found only in lo-          cycle thinking”, an approach that sees garments as
                             cal hedgerows; our individual laundering practices.        a mosaic of inter-connected flows of materials, la-
                             The truth is, of course, that sustainable fashion is all   bour and as potential satisfiers of needs that move
                             of these and more. It is a celebration of ingenuity,       through phases of a garment’s life from fibre culti-
                             vitality, care, resourcefulness and strong relation-       vation, to processing and transportation and into
                             ships between us and our world, expressed in gar-          garment use, reuse and eventual disposal. Such life-
                             ment form.                                                 cycle thinking is inspired principally from the study
                                                                                        of ecology, where each part of a system influences
                             These sustainability values will help shape the fu-        every other, and where overall system effectiveness
                             ture of fashion and give us a mental picture and sen-      is prioritised over the individual parts. When fashion
                             sory way markers about the direction in which we           is looked at from a lifecycle perspective, what is re-
                             should head. Part of this “shaping” involves reduc-        vealed are “hotspots” of harmful impact and oppor-
                             ing the impact of the fashion sector as it exists today    tunities for the greatest whole system improvement.
– Issues to be addressed

                             - and it is a massive job. For the production and con-
Sustainable Fashion

                             sumption of fashion impacts hard on ecosystems,            For some (though certainly not all) fashion clothes,
                             communities, workers and consumers in a variety of         these hotspots of harm are linked to material choices.
                             challenging and sometimes surprising ways. Produc-         Traditional views of sustainable fashion focus their
                             ing fashion clothes, and the textiles they are made        attention almost exclusively on materials and their
                             from, is one of the longest and most complicated           provenance; on whether fibre is organically grown
                             industrial chains in manufacturing industry. It starts     and fairly traded, or whether materials are from rap-
DK: Lab

                             in fields with the cultivation of fibre crops like cot-    idly renewable sources or from recycled yarn. To-
                             ton and wool or in chemical plants where fibres like       day for example over 20 major brands and 1200

smaller ones now sell organic fibre products. Yet for      with very large quantities of pesticides and synthe-

                                                                                                                    Fashion and Sustainability
many other fashion clothes, choice of materials has        tic fertilisers, water and energy in large farms with
only limited effect on overall product sustainability.     no crop variety. The effect is to reduce the fertility
In the case of frequently laundered clothes for in-        of the soil; create water pollution; damage the diver-
stance, the overwhelming hotspot of harm is the use        sity of plant and animal species; develop pesticide
phase of a garment’s life. Here it is our laundering       resistance, leading to ever higher levels of pestici-
choices, washing, drying and ironing behaviour and         des being applied in order to control pests; and da-
perceptions of cleanliness that have most influence        mage to workers’ health through exposure to acu-
over our clothes’ sustainability.                          tely toxic pesticides.

                                                                                                                    By Kate Fletcher
Yet these flows of resources are only part of the          Resource intensive fibre, fabric and garment
story. Fashion clothes are much more than the fi-          manufacturing including significant use of ener-
bre and chemicals needed to make them. They are            gy and petrochemical resources for synthetic fibres
signs and symbols, expressions of culture, newness         like polyester; pollution to air and water from pro-
and tradition. They link us to time and space and          duction of synthetic and cellulose-based fibres (like
deal with our emotional needs, manifesting us as so-       viscose); and for all fibres large water consumption,
cial beings, as individuals. Thus sustainability issues    use of toxic chemicals and waste generation.
in fashion are as much about cultural, economic and
social phenomena as material and manufacturing             Exploitation of garment workers who experience
ones. They are also about decadence, consumer-             labour abuses including poverty wages, excessive
ism, expression and identity and if sustainability is to   working hours, forced overtime, lack of job securi-
become a real possibility in fashion, then the sector      ty and denial of trade union rights. In recent years,
has to work with these big issues and their difficult      working conditions in factories have been forced
implications as well as the more bounded fibre-spe-        ever lower in what is called a “race to the bottom”
cific or production focused ones. For in order to          as manufacturers compete on price for a place in
make sustainability happen in the fashion sector,          the supply chain of big brands.

                                                                                                                    – Issues to be addressed
there needs to be change at many levels: we need

                                                                                                                    Sustainable Fashion
both root and branch reform.                               Damaging effects of fashion trends and
                                                           imagery where the drive to constantly “renew”
Making such sustainability-inspired reform to fash-        ourselves in the light of changing trends helps feed
ion brings to the fore the sector’s key issues, these      short-term thinking, psychological insecurity and ris-
include:                                                   ing levels of mental illness; while fashion imagery
                                                           is linked to body issues and serious medical condi-

                                                                                                                                                 DK: Lab
Damaging agricultural practices where some                 tions like anorexia, which is now reaching record
natural fibres – most notably cotton – are cultivated      levels in young men as well as women.

Fashion and Sustainability

                              “Fashion clothes are much more
                                than the fibre and chemicals
By Kate Fletcher

                              needed to make them. They are
                              signs and symbols, expressions
                             of culture, newness and tradition.
                             They link us to time and space and
                               deal with our emotional needs,
                              manifesting us as social beings,
– Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion

                                       as individuals.”
                                            Kate Fletcher
DK: Lab

Sustainable Fashion        By Kate Fletcher   Fashion and Sustainability
               – Issues to be addressed

     DK: Lab
Fashion and Sustainability
By Kate Fletcher
– Issues to be addressed
Sustainable Fashion

                             “… in order to make sustainability hap-
                             pen in the fashion sector, there needs to
                             be change at many levels: we need both
                             root and branch reform.”
DK: Lab

                                                               Kate Fletcher

Kate Fletcher has worked with sustainable fashion since the early

                                                                                                                        Fashion and Sustainability
                                             1990s. She is an internationally popular lecturer and teacher in sus-
                                             tainable fashion and a leading researcher in the field. She is trained
                                             as a fashion designer, holds a PhD in sustainable fashion and works
                                             as consultant for large retail chains, designers, NGOs and other
                                             through her company Slow Fashion. She is the author of the ac-
                                             claimed book: ‘Sustainable Fashion and Textiles - Design Journeys’.

Passive consumers who “follow” the trends pre-              Yet contrary to common expectations, big change
scribed by industry, who are ill informed about, and        doesn’t just flow from decisions made at high-level

                                                                                                                        By Kate Fletcher
distanced from, the creative practices surrounding          international meetings or in the boardrooms of com-
their clothes and who lack the practical skills to do       pany directors; for single, small actions can have big
anything about it.                                          effects. Nabeel Hamdi in his delightful book Small
                                                            Change puts it like this: “in order to do something
Excess and wastefulness linked to consumer-                 big… one starts with something small and one starts
ism and fashion consumption where we meet                   with where it counts”.
our desire for pleasure, new experiences, status,
and identity formation through buying far more              Acting “small” and “where it counts” brings change
products than we need – many of them clothes.               towards sustainability in fashion within the grasp of
Global brands and high street retailers profit from         each and every one of us. It starts with us asking
this relationship and for them, challenging consum-         questions of companies and suppliers and by chal-
erism remains a taboo subject. Indeed the trend for         lenging them to respond to key issues, like the ones
consumption of fashion continues upwards (in the            raised above. It involves us looking at garments not
UK, it increased by one third in the last four years)       just as items of beauty, or as something to wear, but
and is linked to an increase in speed: high street          in their totality – as resources, processes, symbols
chains can turn around collections in as little as          and values. For it is in these dynamics that sustaina-

                                                                                                                        – Issues to be addressed
three weeks; and fashion seasons are now not only           bility will emerge in fashion. Sustainability also starts

                                                                                                                        Sustainable Fashion
biannual, but each of the two main seasons contains         closer to home as we question our own behaviour.
three mini collections, opening up new opportuni-           As we look at what we buy and why we buy it. As we
ties to consume.                                            consider how we wear clothes and how we care for
                                                            them. And as we reach into our sewing baskets and
There is no denying it: fashion and sustainability is-      with needle, thread and a large measure of thought-
sues are large in scale and tricky to navigate and it       fulness, begin the process of re-skilling ourselves in

                                                                                                                                                     DK: Lab
is all too easy to feel overwhelmed and see them            the art and practice of creating and caring for things
as too global and too deep-rooted to influence.             and not just consuming them.

DK: Lab   Sustainable Fashion                                                   By Lene Hald   Sustainable = Fashionable

               – Issues to be addressed

                                          By Lene Hald
                                                         Sustainable = Fashionable
Sustainable Fashion        By Lene Hald   Sustainable = Fashionable
               – Issues to be addressed

     DK: Lab
DK: Lab   Sustainable Fashion        By Lene Hald   Sustainable = Fashionable

               – Issues to be addressed
Sustainable fashion is a concept riddled with com-       has been an imperative when the goal has been to

                                                                                                                   Sustainable = Fashionable
plexity. Although eco-fashion is one of contempo-        lift a fashion brand onto a bigger stage, and the rapid
rary fashion’s most compelling practices, the notion     changing culture has become an integrated part of
of fashion has traditionally been exclusively con-       what constitutes the concept of fashion. Being up to
cerned with the rapid change of trends and the con-      date on the latest fashion trends and ideas seems to
stant developing of new product ranges; in many          have been required in order to grab the attention of
ways, the complete opposites of what drives a sus-       consumers. Fashion has become increasingly more
tainable approach to product manufacturing.              affordable and disposable, and the equation of “The
                                                         New” and “The Improved” has been constantly
At first glance, sustainable fashion may appear to be    made. As a result, high street and global brands such

                                                                                                                   By Lene Hald
an ill-matched marriage between short lasting trends     as Zara and H&M have hollered for greater market
and durability. However, most trendsetters seem to       shares.
agree: Fashion is entering the Green Age. Fashion
may be rooted in change and novelty, but it cannot       This flowing, fleeting progression of looks and pro-
be reduced to a flippant and superficial industry of     ducts seems to have been essential and fundamen-
excessive style.                                         tal; as if nurturing some in-built drive and desire to
                                                         adjust to changing fashions. Eco-clothing, on the
Fashion also embodies a much deeper, more in-            other hand, has been reduced to the hemp pants,
sightful engagement with clothing that is seen across    tie-dye and nostalgic Hippie subculture. Why now
all times and all cultures. And now the industry –       – all of a sudden – does sustainability and fashion
both commercial and design-driven – seems to be          form an alliance?
making a fashion forward change towards a “green”
vision.                                                  Eco-Gen
                                                         To keep it short: A new generation is rewriting the
Fa – Fa – Fast Fashion                                   principles of fashion. It is a generation still seeking
Let us start out with the Slow versus the Fast Fash-     to adjust to changing cultural conditions, and – as

                                                                                                                   – Issues to be addressed
ion paradox. If one takes a look at the fashion his-     generations before them – still yearning to know the

                                                                                                                   Sustainable Fashion
tory of the past thirty years, it would be fair to say   current way of doing things. But instead of finding
that fashion and environmental awareness have not        the answer in Fast Fashion, they turn to sustainabil-
been two concerns that have comfortably been sit-        ity, addressing issues concerning biofuels, climate
ting side by side.                                       change and global warming. Upcoming designers
                                                         and young consumers alike are focusing on how
During this time span, technological, social and eco-    to live their lives with an ethical, social and eco-

                                                                                                                                               DK: Lab
nomic changes – and their impacts on every aspect        aware conscience. A growing number of designers
of life – have set a hasty pace. Stylistic reinvention   are even going one step further and embracing

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