For our elective, I was in the Sustainability and Manufacture group, led by Hannah Lewis and Adrian Holme.
In our first week of seminars, we went to see Orsola de Castro at the studio of From Somewhere, a great company that highlights the discard at source of 'waste' materials, by using fabrics reclaimed from other designers off cuts. It was a really fascinating visit and a great insight into the world of fashion. I was shocked at some of the figures- for example typical waste of a specific material by a high street brand could be 7,000 metres. It was really interesting to see somebody using waste to a real advantage, to both make beautiful clothes and also to highlight important issues to peers and consumers. Orsola said some really interesting things about process- about working with fashion students "out of 80 students not one wants to be a pattern cutter". And that process is what gives us our mistakes, mistakes show us what we are really good at. "We have forgotten about process'.
"Address waste before it becomes rubbish".
A few weeks later (after Christmas) we had a really good talk from Sprout Design http://sproutdesign.co.uk/
Which was a really good reminder on topics like being aware of the limits of the world's resources, and how we can use design for positive change.
It was interesting to hear him talking about Sprout Design as a business, "using sustainable and inclusive design to find opportunities" and design being sustainable and inclusive- the relationship between people and objects, and also the importance of expressing and communicating your ideas visually. Dematerialisation and the life of products was also a very interesting subject, and the idea of doing more with less. Also the prioritisation within the cycle of products- reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, landfill. It was really interesting to hear that when Sprout worked with B&Q, the head of the company had left over the introduction of patio heaters, which was an unexpected environmental stance from such a big company.
After the talk, we went to the Sugru factory in East London. Sugru is an air forming rubber, widely used to fix things and creatively used in many different ways.
It was really interesting to hear the whole story behind a product, see who made it, where it was made. Their customer relations were also really interesting- a lot on hacking sights and blogs, giving them an audience all around the world.
On the same day we also grouped up and talked about the progress of our research. I was with Jazz, who is looking at craft as an alternative to consumerism. She had some really interesting facts, like that the same part of your brain that you use to shop is the 'creative' section, so that's why you feel constructive when shopping. She thought she was going to look at how that could be channeled into something actually creative, which could be really interesting. She also found out that the amount of money spent anually on make-up in the US could feed all the starving people in the world for a year.
She wants to find out how modern ideals can be challenged, and look into consumer behaviour. I thought what could be quite interesting is comparing prices/costs of homemade items vs shop bought items.
In our second group seminar, Kim and Jazz both talked about their research and we discussed it as a group (see video below). There were some really interesting topics discussed and brought up, especially the ideas of sinus-milieus in Germany, and reminding ourselves of the times in which we live, our own context and in terms of environmental issues and social change the feeling that we are at some sort of starting point now.