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.


Pa++ern “Twitter your T”

Pa++ern is a project (launched by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi) which allows users to customise a t-shirt via twitter. 
It’s an interesting mode of interaction which combines digital media and an existing social networking platform to captivate an audience. Syncing twitter with their digital sewing tool is fitting as it has been ranked the 3rd most popular social networking site and 50Th most popular website in the world! 

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. 

Burda Style’s New Projects

The open source sewing community  Burda Style are dividing the “How To” section on their platform under two new categories – projects and techniques.

They have blogged a sneak peak of the new “projects” section. The projects area will allow creations to be easily categorised under a number of different descriptions such as season, material, garment type and style…

All  techniques will be filed under a “learning” category.

burda style projects

I love the open source element of Burda Style as it networks  a global community of sewing enthusiasts ( with over 200,000 members)allowing them to share skills and expertise. The platform supports the novice through to the expert and allows users to communicate amongst themselves to support, critique and compliment each others creations. 

The new sections under construction look to improve the navigation and usability and Im excited to see the developments.

Co-design4… Workshops


Socio-eco innovation by co-designing products & services Co-design4… is a series of inter-connected workshops facilitated by Alastair Fuad-Luke.

The co-design loop’s three pronged strategy which focuses on experiencing, problamatising and solutioning will be used to nurture collaborative exchanges. Co-design means ‘designing together’ therefore multi stakeholder and interdisciplinary action will be facilitated to develop holistic practice.

The workshops are aimed at:

…Design professionals …Design educators …Other professionals working within the sustainability arena …Design and other post-graduates …Socio-preneurs and eco-preneurs …Social and commercial enterprise managers …Sustainability managers or officers

There are 8 scheduled workshops with workshop 9 FREE to any participants in attendance to the previous workshops. Student rates are available.

Workshop 1 Eco-efficiency & Eco-effectiveness, 01 May 2009 The Venue: Hub King’s Cross, 34b York Way, London, N1 9AB, UK Tel: +44(0)20 7841 3450 Visit the website for further information

DIY designer clothing and accessories

The Guardian and The Observer have launched  DIY ethical fashionmake-your-own-bag-make-yo-011make-your-own-bag-make-yo-010: Make your own designer clothes and accessories.

They have collaborated with designers to create step-by-step “how to” guides illustrated with beautiful photographs taking the maker on a journey of marking out, cutting and sewing to create bespoke fashion and accessories.

Allowing you to make your own:

Celia Birtwell stencil print bag
Jade Jagger bracelet
Stephen Jones hat
Vivienne Westwood dress

This offers insights into the design process and allows consumers to create bespoke goods at affordable prices. The hands on approach also allows us to engage in craft and DIY at a time when we are questioning our consumption, providing an alternative to mass produced goods that don’t cost a fortune.

Computational Design

Nervous System have created a custom design tool to allow users to create bespoke products. Consumers can opt to buy ready designed jewellery or create their own. Each item is laser cut or produced through rapid prototyping methods by which all unique pieces can be manufactured at the same cost as cookie cutter ones. Therefore everything is affordable and ethically made.

They have also released their source code under the creative commons license to encourage others to adopt a similar approach. This interactive approach allows unique products to be created and as there is no definitive, final product, many designs can be created to allow for mass customisation.