Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months. Oscar Wilde 

On the face of it there would seem to be irreconcilable differences between fashion and the principles of sustainability. While sustainability tries to drastically reduce the carbon footprint to produce and consume products fashion on the other hand promotes a fast consumer product culture where the word season trends have become this week’s trend. Fashion is the name of a passing trend, a fad, transient or superficial and true in many cases wasteful. Fashion represents the opposite of longevity and as such appears to be an opponent to sustainability. Sustainable product design, an important word now and in the future.

Sustainable fashion design and Eco living

Spray on clothing. For the future?

Today we see a larger trend towards a green and sustainable lifestyle and a key to work towards a future who are in danger of global warming is sustained, than fashion seems to be in conflict with sustainable principles. But I believe this is far from the truth. There are positive and negative ways to look at fashion design in a modern cultural aspect an if we approach fashion in the right way it can actually add and improve value in the evolution towards a more responsible way of producing garments,  ecologically and social

Fashion and sustainability

Fashion is connected to time, and as time passes the style changes and what’s now become shortly out of fashion as something new will replace the style. The clothes become old-fashioned, no longer desirable. And when the style circle turns at one point of time they become retro and get copied in new variations as concepts from the past.  A few brands are true to their style and become or are classic: La Coste , Fred Perry, Levi’s 501 and.

Fashion is like a dog changing its own tail

The rate of such change has become in such a great rate that seasons products are no longer the term, weekly or even daily fashion. This change in the turnover rate has been seen as a good thing for the economic, competition and market stimulation, but a bad thing for resources conservation and environmental situation.  Therefore these negative issues are narrowing the way fashion manifested and used. A change is the nature of things and the only important factors that are and will change fashion as we know it.

Minimize use of materials and increase quality.

New fabrics and materials for the future. Bio couture

Sustainability strives towards three principles elements, the goals of sustainability is to reduce harm to the environment, use renewable forms of energy, recycle, reuse and lower use of natural materials and increase quality according to extend a product life-cycle and of course add profit to the owners, designers and all other people who are a part of the product life cycle.
Fashion as a driver for sustainable product innovations. Fashion is particularly right, powerful and well used tool in the global free market economy, where the constant demands for new solutions to stimulate further growth in new markets and create a competitive advantage.

The modern middle way

There is in this era fashion can and hopefully will set up a creative culture towards the use of new materials and fabrics.  It can become a driver for a new fashion culture that take part in innovative development of quality, reshape, reuse and re contextualize of garments. These values are indeed fashion and can create a more balanced and less false materialistic communication by advertising and PR to promote happiness and joy. This has usually been fed by fashion on false and provocative way, opposite major religious and philosophical values that harms the environment and clinch towards materialism. With  bio and Nano technology we will see at lot of new materials and fabrics in the future

New technologies and innovations in fabrics are happening fast

The process of a sustainable design requires principles that the designer follows the process of design from sketch to retail instead of handing it over to the marketing department and say good luck. The same process will happen to the management as well, the designer becomes the managing director and the managing director becomes the designer. This evolution will need new creativity and solution; those solutions can compare to fashion in the way that fashion is, based on newness and solutions that works. Balance of new product will happen that will become more aesthetic innovative in a demanding process.

Design is no longer separate but integrated in all processes of a product’s life cycle.

lifecycle-recycled-cotton.  Illustrations Kenneth buddha Jeans

The designer can connect the human experience with a product and engage the consumer in new ways. Therefore Design Thinking is more than employing a designer to create attractive shells or skins for new products, but to be part of the planning and execution stages and influence manufacturing in a new sustainable way. Sustainability requires a more balanced approach; the process utilizes human creativity and innovation wisely. And that attends to social and ecological sustainability, in addition to economic priorities. What is more economical? As a reminder, sustainability is not the same thing as profit maximization’s. Sustainability requires a more balanced approach; the process utilizes human creativity and innovation wisely. And that attends to social and ecological sustainability, in addition to economic priorities.  What is more economical? As a reminder, sustainability is not the same thing as profit maximization’s.

The weakest link will set the price on the garment. This will happen as factor such as transportation, price of materials rise and become factors that implicate garments to last longer, become products that are re workable, recyclable, careless and in many ways can be produced and repaired locally.

Produce your products where your consumers are

The product who is closest to the consumer will give the output with lowest use of materials and energy in production, but not necessarily the lowest price. This seems therefore as a move away from the mass production techniques where the scale in the production was the matter of the lowest price. Today technology and ways to produce a garment can and will be essentially different. To scan, laser cut and deliver products can actually happen in the same neighborhood where you live in the nearby future.

Consumers will demand higher quality and be willing to pay for it

Second hand market will grow big. A golden opportunity for people who want to start a store

Consumers will also require a much higher quality and are willing to pay a bit more when they know it last longer and fewer repairs need Today repairs are sometimes more costly than the product itself and the time it takes is valuable time for the consumer who in cases needs the product constantly. At last the consumers are much more a part of developing products today and this prosumer are in fact sometimes more informed about technical details that most people who works with it daily. The process of a better educated consumer, more expensive materials and transportation will make room for innovation and design in a new matter. We must learn to use less and use anything that is available. We must learn to approach and use existing materials that was used for other purposes and transform them into new objects.

There will be no right solution

This will be a move away from what we traditionally will call modernistic design or an aesthetic object as we have today. This transition will be a period of new possibilities in design and its aesthetic visual aspect will naturally take new directions. These challenges are indeed what fashion is all about. There will be no correct way or no right solution to aim for; we might have the same set of values based upon criteria of workers safely, environmental damage etc. What will happen is for sure that there will be a change in taste, new generations change the view on aesthetics and a look that might be seen as dreadful will be cool. This will surely keep fashion fresh, vital and joyful and that is pretty much what fashion is all about

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Sources and useful information
Oscar Wilde Oscar Fingal O’Flaherty Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he Oscar Wilde http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde
Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion
Sustainability in design. Environmental Science, quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sustainability
Product life-cycle  http://www.marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/
Noki Designer http://showstudio.com/contributor/noki
Ad Buster http://www.adbusters.org/
How to start a second-hand store http://smallbusiness.chron.com/starting-second-hand-clothing-business
The Middle way. The view Buddha had  on the middle way. The middle way also has the meaning of practising or living with moderation. This can be things such as moderation in eating, which does not give rise to any disadvantage for the body. This is the middle way in practice. In general, the Buddhist practice is the middle way, not too loose or too tight. http://www.buddhapadipa.org/buddhism/buddhism-for-beginners/the-middle-way/
Eco lifestyle  Living with a sustainable view on how to cut energy while living and using daily life products and services.  Sustainability is what and by covering all-aspects of a green lifestyle. Green life is taking the steps in the right direction to reduce environmental effects, improve our health, and develop an overall, eco-lifestyle Kenneth @ buddha jeans the future is now

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Founder of buddha Jeans Company, editor of the blog sustainable fashion design by buddha Jeans and the daily newspaper sustainableFASHION//buddhaJeans. I dig deep about denim culture, fashion, spirituality & philosophy for the 21st century sustainable community.
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4 comments…

  • Reta Brosnahan Saffo July 14, 2012, 5:25 pm

    Very interesting read. Just returned from Milan and Rome where I found myself so disgusted by the huge gap between high end/high quality haute couture fashion… and the low end/low quality mass produced fashion. Personally, I think recycling clothing is the way to go now (thrift stores, consignment shops, etc) and for more reasons than just the obvious. Let’s just recycle what we already have. Why not? The world is just busting at it’s seams! The planet is way over populated… and we are all still worrying about fashion–how we look? We need to cloth the naked and feed the hungry… stop all the abuse and suffering. I agree in that using the word fashion and sustainability together is sort of an oxymoron, no? How about “clothing and sustainability”? That sounds more achievable. Whatever happened to the damn loin cloth? It’s just clothing–for God’s sake– intended to keep us warm, protected, and sheltered. It’s all gotten so out of control. Just nuts!

    Reply
  • Nicki July 18, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Reta has an interesting idea. Recycling the clothing we already have would of course lead to the most sustainable future. However, like she mentioned, this is “sustainable clothing” and not necessarily “sustainable fashion.” While some people may be happy to return the the loin cloth, from experience, most people are interested in style. Fashion has evolved. It is no longer just a means of keeping us warm and sheltered, but rather it has become a main outlet for expressing ourselves. Herein lies the problem. People aren’t going to stop producing clothing, so how can we make it as sustainable as possible?
    There are some really great options out there. I’ve seen clothing and jewelry made out of old tires, recycled paper, and even used clothing. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to mass produce these types of things. One company that is being really innovative is Reco Jeans. They collect scraps from denim factories that would ordinarily end up in landfills. They then reuse the strongest fibers to make new fabric. This ensures a durable fabric that cuts down on water consumption, chemicals, and fabric waste. They have lots of great options for people who want to do their part for the environment, but still maintain their personal style.You can check them out at recojeans.com.

    Reply
    • kenneth@buddha jeans July 25, 2012, 9:34 pm

      Yes, its unbelievable how much clothes people have and there are many ways to add new newness into fashion, what about a swapping party on a Friday with friends I am sure friends have something I want etc. What about renting out clothes that expensive jacket that you want to buy but maybe just want to be out on a party a few times. rework, reuse etc. are many other ways and of course recycle, if you read my post about what is the most environmental friendly fabric you will find that recycled cotton is more friendly than eco cotton.

      Reply
  • acne May 4, 2013, 7:48 pm

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