Clara Vuletich was at the Ethical Fashion Forum's Excellence in Ethical Fashion Training Day last week as an 'expert' in sourcing sustainable materials. Clara saw several different independent fashion companies and designers who were looking for advice and guidance.
It turned out that the most helpful advice Clara could give was a copy of TED's TEN Design Strategies. There is often an assumption in the ethical fashion world that fashion and textile designer's already have the design skills needed, and all they need guidance with is issues such as marketing, sourcing and finding the right production supply chain. However, here at TED we would argue that the complexity of sustainability requires designers to work with a range of interconnected design strategies that can leverage real innovation and change and that are not just limited to the 'hard' aspects such as materials and processes.
This may include awareness and understanding of how service design approaches could be helpful, or how to design in the potential for upcycling at the end of the garment's life. This is where our TED's TEN comes in.
While TED has been developing this set of design strategies for several years now, there have been other recent attempts to offer strategies or 'toolkits' for designers to navigate sustainability. There is a set of values for slow fashion developed by Slow Fashion Forward in Sweden, and the Slowlab with Alistair Fuad-Luke have developed a set of strategies to design 'slowly'. Finally, there is a Toolkit for Designers who want to learn how to be Social Innovators from Ezio Manzini's organisation DESIS.
Most of these , are quite broad and conceptual and not specifically related to a textile and fashion context. We believe TED's TEN fills this gap.