TED's Sustainable Design Strategies At Work

Becky Earley has recently been out and about promoting TED's Sustainable Design strategies to commercial clients. In March this year Becky introduced the strategies to designers from the Gucci Group at a TFRC event, and in May to a larger range of professionals at a PPR group event in Cambridge.

Last week's workshop at the Sustainable Fashion Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, was attended by twenty delegates from industry. They were designers, marketing and innovation managers from a broad range of Swedish companies, including H&M.

Yesterday’s one-to-one sessions were part of Becky’s return visit to the Future Factory project in Nottingham, based at Nottingham Trent University. Five local businesses had 40 minute sessions to further explore sustainable design concepts that they had been introduced to in the spring this year.

For all the delegates the work and information around materials and manufacturing are so important, but being introduced to the ‘soft’ eco design concepts prove to be just as useful. One Swedish participant wrote back last week:

“I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday… When I got home last night, I honestly couldn't stop thinking about the Seven Design Strategies that Becky presented during the day and the in particular the ideas on ‘Replace the Need to Consume’ and ‘Design Activism’. From my perspective those two areas seems to be as much about communication as production and with my background in communication, pr and marketing those ideas triggered my creativity. After listening to Becky I believe that there are plenty to do in those areas as well...”

If you would like more information about the consultancy workshops TED run, please contact Clara on ted@chelsea.arts.ac.uk


TED Postcard from Melbourne

The talk I gave on our Upcyling Textiles project in Melbourne was a success, with about 35 people joining us at the new Harvest Textiles workspace. The talk was the first event at the space, that will house their screen printing workshops, a gallery space and a retail shop. They have some grand plans to run artists-in-residence programmes and all sorts of talks and events, so watch their space!

I introduced the audience to the work of all the TED members and the outcomes from the Ever & Again project. There were some interesting questions from the floor, including the question we get asked the most about the project - 'Are all these great ideas actually commercially viable?'.

The next talk will be to staff and students at RMIT University textile department on Tuesday.


TED postcard from Sydney

For the workshop I ran yesterday at University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the students made their own small patchwork sample, using fabric scraps. Taking a few basic quilting shapes as templates, we explored the idea of zero-waste cutting and hand-stitching. Several students had never used a needle and thread, so we worked slowly and quietly. At the end all of the pieces were brought together to make one whole 'quilt' which we photographed, and will then digitise and play around with using CAD tools.

I also presented a talk on 'Digital Craft' exploring the work of 'hybrid designers' such as weaver Ismini Samandiou and my work of 'digital quilting' called Fragments.

The students are involved in a project called 'Waste in the City' run by Marie O'Mahony. They have been put in groups and have been assigned an area of the city, and each group has been mapping the waste of that area, to identify any potential design interventions, using the local waste stream. The groups consist of students from a range of design disciplines, including visual communication and textile/fashion design, so the range of solutions should be interesting, and from the few ideas I heard, will mainly focusing of designing services around waste re-use.


Ethical Fashion Forum’s SOURCE EXPO 2010

Last week two of TED’s PhD students (Jen Ballie and Matilda Aspinall) attended the Ethical Fashion Forum’s SOURCE EXPO 2010.
The SOURCE EXPO aimed to promote sustainable fashion practices and facilitate sustainable sourcing amongst fashion professionals. The exhibition showcased a selection of work from suppliers and manufacturers from all over the world, working to promote fair trade and ethical standards, linking them with hundreds of designers, retailers and brands.
A series of seminars were also scheduled throughout the day, and we attended the ‘Innovation’ seminar to learn about the latest inspirational products and processes in the sourcing sector. This was chaired by Emily Pearce, EFF’s Ethical Fashion Project Manager, with speakers from Initiate Design, Bag it Don’t Bin It and Pants to Poverty. The work of Susanne Lee (Biocouture) and PUMA SAFE - Clever Little Bag was also introduced.
Each speaker introduced their innovativion by explaining their design concept, how their product was made and any additional services. We were impressed at the range of challenging design approaches adopted by each speaker. The subjects discussed explored local production and cottage industries, cradle to cradle design through closed loop methodologies and crowdfunding.
The session explored how design could be coupled with innovation to create desirable products that were both useable and engaging. The end user played a central focus through each strategy and they tried to engage users by encouraging participation, supporting well-being and promoting social values.
This event has scaled up since last year and attracted a massive audience. It was exciting to see designer’s working in new ways to scale up sustainable design.


Roundtable Discussion, EFS Paris

Last week's roundtable discussion proved to be an interesting experience for TED member Becky Earley. Eleven designers / experts were on the platform at the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, for two hours, discussing new textile technologies and their potential for creating more sustainable products.

The discussion began with a presentation by designer Florence Bost who gave a succinct overview of the fields of study and activity - a kind of history of smart textiles – which briefly covered the 1940s to the present day. The other speakers, each talking about their work in turn for five minutes, addressed:

Interaction design and smart clothing (Francesca Rosella, Cute Circuit)

Upcycling textiles and technologies (Becky Earley, TED)

LED / wind sensitive textiles (Stijn Ossevort)

Detailing menswear to prolong life (Doris Hartwich)

How luxury brands are building a new materials resource to help them with product design innovation (Alexandre Cappelli, speaking about Louis Vuitton)

PUMA’s better shoebox concept – a fabric bag – and the lifecycle analysis project (Karsten Bleymehl, Material ConneXion)

The current state of fibre development and impacts through manufacture and usage (Michael Kininmonth, Lenzing Fibers)

Carbon detecting textiles and the The Climate (CO2) Dress (Hanne Louise Johannesen, Diffus)

Fashion aromachology and our future well being (Dr Jenny Tillotson)

Artistic material explorations (Tzuri Gueta)

Questions from the floor ranged from concerns over the impacts from battery powered smart textiles at the end of life stage, to whether smart textiles were being used for ‘green washing’ by big brands.

It was a short but sweet session, and a real pleasure to hear from designers and experts who are passionate about the future of textiles. To end the roundtable Dr Isa Hofmann (chair) asked the experts to offer one word to the audience, a guiding principle if you like, to inspire progress and innovation. The words were:

Education… Reduce Waste… Dematerialise… Avoidance… Detailing… Accidental… Appreciation… Lifestyle… Well Being… Desireability...

Image: TED’s summary slide from the Worn Again / Ever & Again project, 2010