Fast Fashion & Co-Design: Working Together

I designed and facilitated a workshop last Friday for MA Textile students at Chelsea College of Art & Design. The workshop was part of a piece I am working on for TED’S Ever & Again publication on upcycling textiles. It is an outcome of an AHRC funded research project directed by RebeccaEarley .

The workshop was titled Fast Fashion & Co-Design: working together

I used co-design to “orchestrate creative conversations” a term coined by Leadbeater (2009) to inspire collaborative concepts. We borrowed IDEO ‘s 3 core concept of design thinking to structure the workshop… It was divided into 3 sections… empathy, prototyping and storytelling.

I really enjoyed working with the students to explore these concepts and they presented some really interesting ideas and exciting solutions.

Global Sourcing


As a culmination of 2009’s Spotlight on Sourcing event series, the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) will be holding a two-day Ethical Sourcing Marketplace in London. The marketplace will bring together representatives of brands and retailers with manufacturers, suppliers and cooperatives working to high ethical standards.
At the event you can:
Meet a range of suppliers, see and feel products and discuss your needs face to face
Gain access to detailed information on exhibitors through the Supplier Directory -quickly identify exhibitors compatible with your work
Attend the series of short seminars during both days, introducing new products and exemplary supply systems
Access one to one advice from leading ethical fashion support organisations and initiatives
Network with other visitors and learn from others experience, share ideas and make key contacts
Tickets are available on site and student discount is available for £10 access saturday 21st between 1030 – 1300 … bring your student ID with you.
visitor information



I have uploaded a snippet from my presentation last Friday… Thank you so much to everyone who came along. It was a valuable exercise and I feel it really pushed me forward. 
Thank you for the questions and feedback… it gave me lots to think about and was a great opportunity to see my research from the viewpoint of others. I have lots to consider and look forward to developing the workshops and moving forward.
I will doing a series of presentations as the research develops… I will post updates and also advertise the workshops as they come into practice.

Co-Everything: Defining Co-Design for fashion and textiles

Friday 6th November ‘09
3.30pm – 5pm
Lecture Theatre, Chelsea Millbank
TFRG / PhD Student Jen Ballie presents:‘Co-Everything: Defining Co-design for Fashion and Textiles’
Co-design is an all-encompassing term to describe participatory action, but how does it fit fashion? This presentation will explore a series of co-design terms and define them within a fashion context, to offer a series of solutions for designers for discussion with the audience.
If you are a undergraduate/ postgraduate student from the University of the Arts, London and have an interest in this area please come along or contact me or more info.


Hacking Design

The RSA will be hosting an event exploring the notion of “design-hacking” a term used to offer alternatives to traditional design, production and partcipation. This event will be chaired byScott Burnham (author of the RSA Design & Society pamphlet on design-hacking) and invites Dr Otto von Busch “haute-couture heretic and DIY- demangogue”.

Dr Otto Von Busch
 recently completed a PhD which combined a series of projects and experiments to explore fashion activism. His approach invites participants to actively engage in the fashion system and he has created a digital platform called >self_passage< which offers open source projects and proposed solutions. This is an excellent resource for designerspractitioners, researchers and fashion DIY enthusiast’s.

Event Description
As brave designers embrace this new frontier spirit. Design jam sessions of professional and amateur in cities and festivals all over the developed world unlock a creative energy that has, in fact, been ever-present in favelas and rural villages where necessity has always been the mother of invention.

Is design-hacking merely another post-modern phase in the history of design, or does it reveal a civic ingenuity and resourcefulness that a century and a half of industrially-fed consumerism has masked?

I have just booked tickets and really look forward to attending this event. I will update a new posting to summarise the proceedings.

Book Tickets or Further Information

2012 Imperative Teach In

The Victoria and Albert Musuem will host the 2012 IMPERATIVE TEACH-IN on the 12th October followed by participating institutions on the 13th October. This event will broadcast live online and speakers include Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation, John Thackara of the Doors of Perception, Richard Hawkins and Christian Hunt from the PIRC, Ben Gill from BioRegional, designers Jonathan Crinion (Crinion Associates) and Stephanie Hankey (Tactical Technology Collective).

The 2012 Imperative aims to embed ecological and sustainability literacy in design education by 2012. There is a social network to support new connections and conversations. Visit their website for further information on booking tickets or where to watch the broadcast live.

Fashioning Now

Fashioning Now, changing the way we make and use clothes is an exhibition and symposium at University of Technology, Sydney 28 July – 28 August 2009. The exhibit features innovative research projects from Australian and International practitioners including three members of staff and research from LCF Prof Helen Storey MBE, Dr Kate Fletcher and Jennifer Shellard.

Fashioning Now addresses all stages of the clothing lifecycle exploring the production and use of garments and addressing how and why they become discarded. The work has been submitted in an array of different mediums from garments,textile objects, time based art, photography and fashion illustration. The designers have used upcycling techniques, zero waste production, slow fashion, bespoke services, traditional craft and many more methods to present a series of sustainable solutions and poise scenarios for further research and development.

Visit the Fashioning Now website which hosts information about the event, the exhibitors and their work. Case studies are available to download and the website will be updated regularly making is a valuable resource for those with in an interest in sustainable fashion and textiles.

Nike Considered

I came across an interesting sustainable design case study “Nike Considered” on the Design Council website.
The case study uses the pilot re-launch of the Nike Pegasus Shoe to illustrate how the sportswear brand are adopting new sustainable standards as part of their production and approach. 
In the 90’s Nike hit a public backlash due to criticism around sustainable production and practice. Through their new “Considered Design” strategy they aim to rethink their practice and process. Under this framework Nike designers were encouraged to integrate sustainable smart materials and processes at the concept stage. This coincides with an earlier report published by the Design Council which argues that 80% of environmental impacts are a result of decisions made at the concept stage of the design process.
Nike sought consultancy from the Natural Step, a non profit organisation who are dedicated to promoting sustainable practice and research. This collaboration has allowed Nike to integrate the Natural Step Framework into their design process and adopt a more sustainable approach by considering the problem, response and result from the frameworks perspective. This has allowed Nike to measure the products overall impact on the environment and identify further opportunities to tackle sustainability. 
This case study only tackles one area and Nike claim to be exploring further alternatives such as biodegradable materials and design for diss-assembly. They are in the process of designing and developing a tool to allow their designers to become agents of change within the company. This tool is titled the “Considered Index” and rates the overall carbon footprint of a design prior to production. The purposed tool aims to make designers aware of the environmental consequences of their design decisions and promote the most sustainable solutions.
In the case study Nike’s President and CEO Mark Parker states: “We are designing for the sustainable economy of tomorrow and for us that means using fewer resources, more sustainable products and renewable energy to produce new products.”
I think this is an interesting way of evidencing a sustainable argument in a measurable format. Sustainability is such a large field of enquiry and as designers it can be very difficult to navigate around this field. Within my practice and research I try to identify the most sustainable solutions where possible and I would welcome a tool that would allow me to quantify these solutions to evaluate how sustainable they really are. 
Visit the Design Council Website to read the full case study. 

Research Network University of The Arts, London

Measuring where we are…
All first year PhD research students at the University of the Arts, London present their research at the end of their first year. We have to perform a 15 minute presentation followed by a 10 minute question and answer session to communicate our research and development. This provides us with an opportunity to introduce our research and source feedback from amultidisciplinary audience.  

On Monday I introduced my research project “Considerate Clothing”.   Preparing the presentation was a valuable exercise as it allowed me to reflect on my practice and research. Where does it sit within a fashion context? What are my future directions? How do I communicate my work? The questions and feedback I received identified new and current issues that require further consideration as I move my research forward through both theory and practice. 
I have benefited by listening  to my peers present…I can relate to their approach or process. We possibly sit within different research disciplines but we are applying a similar method or documenting our results in a similar format? I have found this a valuable exercise and I am looking forward to watching the remaining presentations this week.

Design In Alternative Futures

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This free event was hosted by the Public Services team within the Design Council, London. Designers were invited to participate in a discussion about the future of the economy, society and government. As 2009 will be remembered as the year of global economic durntown – what does this mean to our future?

Dr Alex King, project leader in the governments Horizon Scanning Centre – presented “Economy and Society 2030”

He used scenario mapping to present 4 possible future scenarios to illustrate portraits of the future of Britain. All scenarios were speculative and addressed themes such as social values, behaviour, technology, community, resources, innovation, economics…

Dr King talked about 4 different worlds, these scenarios projected people uniting together and regarding collaboration more important than competition, with a strong sense of community. Or a different competitive society where people become isolated with lots of small closed communities…

Discussion was gauged around the scenario methods and I found the discussion as interesting as the presentation. The method of scenario mapping could be used to engage people, prompting discussion and debate. But, there are lots of variables that could impact each scenario differently and this creates a lot of complexity around the method.

Some interested points were highlighted throughout the discussion such as using designers to create visual scenarios/ storyboards to communicate to participants and multiple stakeholders. Therefore could we create roles for designers when creating government policy?

I found this event was really interesting and thought provoking and think it’s a create platform to bring designers together.