TFRC: Perspectives on Future Sustainable Design

Last week Textile Futures Research Centre hosted an event titled 'Perspectives on Future Sustainable Design' at Central Saint Martins.

This event began with a keynote lecture from Dr Jonathan Chapman, followed by presentations from Carole Collet, Rebecca Earley and closed with a PhD finishers platform which I participated in alongside Kate Goldsworthy and Aurelie Mosse.

Dr Chapman's keynote was titled "Re-thinking Good Design in an Unsustainable Way" and started by highlighting why designers as beautifully positioned to champion sustainability. This keynote was packed with points which really made me stop and think

Good design is the ecology of doing and sustainability should be open for everyone to engage with. How can we make solutions accessible and encourage people to engage with them?

When exploring the broad terrain of sustainability confusion is good

"To be confused is to be combing things that were previously separate. To 'confuse' literally means, to 'pair together'; a melting pot of ideas, paradigms to world views." Hawkins (2011)

How can we be the change we want to see in the world and how does this all piece together? How can one individual connected to few inspire new action? Chapman went on to express that people are drawn to optimism and concrete solutions; they are not at all to pessimism, fuzziness and scare mongering.  Therefore solutions need to be pitched in an exciting, positive way to invite people to participate and become involved.

I loved the pace and tone of this lecture - it really made me reflect and think about my own work and I felt we were taken on a journey through some of the complexity surrounding sustainability. I've simplified some of the points which I related to but the full podcast will be available to download via TFRC soon.

This was followed by Becky Earley who introduced TED's TEN which is a toolbox for designers

1. Design to Minimise Waste

2. Design for Recycling / Upcycling

3. Design to Reduce Chemical Impacts

4. Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use

5. Design the Explores Clean / Better Technologies

6. Design that looks at Models from Nature & History

7. Design for Ethical Production

8. Design to Replace the Need to Consume

9. Design to Dematerialise and Develop Systems & Services

10. Design Activism

The TED team have curated the TEN into a collection of method cards which can be used to support interactive workshop sessions, seminars and consultancy packages with large fashion brands. This presentation illustrated each category with a collection of beautiful case studies to showcase how they can be adapted or built upon to inspire new working models for fashion & textile design.

This part of the seminar concluded with Carole Collet offering insight into the future of textiles. This future thinking approach took us on a journey of scientific wonder and combined beautiful images, prototypes to illustrations and possibilities which became very thought provoking. A connection to science and nature was made to identify sources of inspiration for designing textiles such a bio lace to explore new manufacturing processes which are engineered and constructed within a lab rather than an assembly line.

This was action packed and a huge thank you to the speakers and TFRC for putting this together. Some podcasts should be available for download shortly via TFRC connections and Shirahime have a fantastic write up.

I will complete another post on the PhD platform shortly.