Sustainability in design, is it just a buzzword or an actual fashion brand performance?

How can fashion be sustainable when fashion means fast?

Sustainability is fast becoming a buzz word throughout the design and fashion industry. Fashion and Ecology are a paradox in itself, where the demand for fast-fashion life cycle clashes with the Sustainable product designed the traditional needs for a slower production cycle. Is fast fashion – mission impossible? The designer is not free to choose the best option he wants better adhere to the sustainable concept. Small companies can create inspirations and fashion following. Still, small changes on a large-scale can create an impact. Furthermore, small grass-root movements and designer-owned companies can create a fashion-following and perhaps a model for larger companies to inspire themselves from. But where does the sustainable product design firm go from there?

Should innovations be shared open between large companies and smaller?

In turn, standards organizations can stretch and innovate alongside business in a different way: certification complemented by new mechanisms such as partnerships or sharing by more than one company, even competitors. I believe in the future innovations and basic research, shared among companies of a distinct level. One must take into considerations that very often tinier companies invent and create a market to begin with, then when the market is mature the large companies that have used the learning from the smaller get into the market with real power comes in and the paradigm shift happens. Recommended reading Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm. More about Nike and innovation sharing

Big brands are a market opener

This is of course good for the market as it becomes larger, but not always good for the smaller companies who have explored this to begin with. I think to fix global warming, consumer over spending, reduce carbon footprint and ruthless exploitation of global resources can be repaired. If sustainable product design companies can agree and share invention that makes it possible to reduce damage, however, of course the biggest saving of damage to the environment is the consumer itself. In general, the rule of 30-40 percent in development, manufacturing, transport, marketing and sale and 60-70 percent during the product life cycle when the consumer consumes the product, calculated in a carbon footprint.

The first goal of a brand who strives towards an Eco and Sustainability 

When we talk about the eco-label model, we are talking about the combination of more than one dimension, about different subjects that must happen before we can talk about an Eco label. First, to set a standard, to meet a set of basic requirements, usually taking or applying a set of values or industry standards in the form of certification providing assurance of conformity against these standards. Second, sustainable design companies, the eco-labels themselves must do so, or set of marks that give or show conformance with the standard. This model is far from new; it has been more or less unchanged since the end of the 70’s Companies with credible reference points Most companies that produce a standard product have set these standards. A product that requires a longer-lasting method in factories unchanged from a longer period. These companies have really been the pioneers in certification; standard setting developed of ownership, or industry-standard organizations. They have built the foundation for a better and more economically sustainable economy. For businesses, they give a credible reference point for collective action, access to ability and networks, and give the consumer confidence when buying products or services.

An increasing number of Eco label brands

However, as more and more companies reinvent themselves and put an Eco label in the marketplace or in terms call them self-sustainable product design company (over 500 companies) they move the market into the mainstream it is of course losing the value and their differentiation they once had. A set of standards can easily become a bottleneck To follow such standards does not make a challenge for companies who seek to take leadership of differentiating themselves towards a better place in the marketplace. The conformity and rigidity become a bottleneck or adopting a company towards the same system, they once did not want to label themselves.

A consumer who takes an active part in a product Life cycle

We are seeing an enormous power behind a mega trend of an Eco aware new consumer who more requires and asks not only what the product has, but also a series of questions that require a produce Life cycle answer. Where it is going, how much can be recycled, how shall I use the product to reduce damage to the environment. Is the quality good enough? If I choose to pay a bit more what kind of impact, will it have on the environment? Will it lower my electricity bill? Is there any program or refund when I deliver it back to recycling? These questions require a brand new set of thinking. We will have to reorganize the organization; a sustainable product designed oriented climate, even make a new set of working demands on a personal level (designer thinking,product Life cycle management).

The consumer is not only consuming the product but a part of making. company next step is to educate the consumer and involving them actively in a program that lower the energy level when using, how to repair, how to maintain, how to extend the products’ Life cycle? Even take it further how to disassemble, remake thing, recycle and swap. This is of course a challenge for companies to make products to repair and maintained. This is very different from today where most products are not meant to be repaired as electronics. The price of the product will rise but the quality will improve. Today we are actually talking about a new way of living, not a mega trend.

Rethink everything

It’s time to challenge and rethink how these standards. To stick to a set of standards is hardly innovated. It’s actually very expensive and time-consuming. The fashion industry has some of the most creative heads of every other artistic business; to drive innovation and progress towards a set of rules old ones needs to be broken Rather than a rigid system of certificates and labels. Sustainable product design companies should seek the solution, the soul of the product itself and the surroundings, including an involved partnership with manufacturer, transportation, packaging and communication. The performance measured would be consumer directed, processing of making would become a in a superior way, creative and solution seeking in every step of the product Life cycle; instead today where the certificates drive the brands to compete with mostly communicating the level in which they keep the certificates or even better lower than competitors.

The brand organization should look at the consumer as an employee

The consumer’s role in which the development will reduce the energy it takes to produce and consume will be essential. Therefore, brands which understand how to work and communicate with their consumers will become truly a company that can label itself Eco and sustainable. This business model will become embedded with regulations far best and effective about a brand responsibility towards the environment. By including everyone in the process of making, consuming and prolong a product Life cycle, the result will bring best quality, less damage on the environment and increase the brand competitive advantage. The process in which this development can be taken further, lie behind the design and management to understand that innovation and product design no longer is only their domain, but belong to a whole chain of smaller processes. The processes will make a product much better and consumer demand driven than any other certificate, label or rule. Design thinking more than just words on a paper, interconnected in a long chain of actions set to be solved by many not one single designers or CEO.

Buddha Jeans Mission

Buddha jeans mission to create a sustainable Jeans and T-shirt product, by employing Design Thinking with positive core values, we want to design from the inside and out, not merely create a new jean in the market. Partnership & engaged consumers on sustainable fashion design. We want to create strong Partnerships and engage the Consumers in a fun and positive dialog on Sustainability. We aim to improve the workers’ conditions where we produce, and support organic producers in all areas of production. We want to work with manufacturers who have a social responsibility and high standards for their workers. We want to change the world one Jean at a time!

  • Design thinking – For a sustainable innovation the process has to start with compassionate needs. When the human needs understood, then one has to use technology who support those human needs. The organization must be tasked oriented with crossover functions. The process is not driven by one person but are a result of collaborations and shared work and thoughts.
  • The book: This Is service design thinking, recommended reading It introduces an inter-disciplinary approach to designing services; service design is a bit of a buzzword these days and has gained a lot of interest from various fields. This book, assembled to describe and illustrate the emerging field of service design, brought together using exactly the same co-creative and user-centered approaches you can read and learn about inside.

Kenneth Lyngaas
Sustainable fashion designer & eco-philosopher Sustainable fashion dedicated the twenty-first century green living, design for change through system thinking, eco philosophy, spirituality and sustainability. Site made with passion for people who loves fashion and care for the environment.
Kenneth Lyngaas
Kenneth Lyngaas
Kenneth Lyngaas
sustainableFASHION// dedicated the twenty-first century sustainable community and living. Every day, I deliver selected news on Eco design across the Internet. Most people appreciate an update without searching latest news themselves. Therefore, it’s already served. Don’t miss it, subscribe!
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