Textile Toolbox - Approach

Approach

Textile Toolbox is TED’s web platform project for MISTRA Future Fashion. Our project within the research consortium aims to create systemic and profitable change within the fashion industry through ‘interconnected design thinking for sustainable textiles and fashion’, or New Design Processes.

The future of the textile and fashion industry relies on designers creating new, compelling visions for the way in which products are created, used and disposed of. Designers need to think radically about the materials that they are using and the form and purpose they are giving them.

  • Why are we making something? What will change for the better?
  • Where have these materials come from?
  • What are they made of? What’s in them?
  • How have they been processed and manufactured into fabric?
  • Whose hands were a part of this process and how were those people treated?
  • When the user washes, dries, irons or repairs the product, what impacts are created? When the user no longer wants the product will it become redundant, or will someone else use it?

These are a few of the questions that we ask ourselves as sustainable textile design researchers. They form the basis of any TED design brief, and we build the product around them, seeking to make improvements by design. In this exhibition you will see ten newprovotypes– prototypes that we hope will provoke debate, and lead to change. The thinking framework we use is called ‘The TEN’, and is our mapping of the sustainable design landscape. We use these ten strategies in card form to inspire and drive our work. In this exhibition we have chosen a lead strategy card, and then created a ‘hand’ of other cards that help us form a more holistic concept.

TED'S TEN

1Design to Minimise Waste

How can we reduce the many kinds of waste created within the textiles industry, both pre and post consumer? Tools in this section examine the potential forward impact of design decisions, around the production use and eventual disposal of textile products, and aim to create a design narrative in response to life-cycle analysis of the product.

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Research and Writing about this strategy

2Design for Cyclability

This strategy explains how when you design for cyclability, the thought process is very different, but totally connected to, the practice of recycling textiles.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

3Design to Reduce Chemical Impacts

This strategy is about appropriate material selection and processes for any product to minimise environmental impacts.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

4Design to Reduce Energy & Water Use

Energy consumption and water usage in the textile industry are extremely high and occur at each stage of the lifecycle of textiles – at the production stage, in the use phase (where consumers use and care for textiles and garments) and at the end stage (which covers either disposal and/or re use of the material.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

5Design that Explores Clean/Better Technologies

Replacing systems of production with less energy consuming and smarter technologies to reduce environmental impacts.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

6Design that Looks at Models from History & Nature

This strategy is about how much textile designers can find inspiration and information for future sustainable design from studying and reflecting upon nature as well as textiles, habits and societies of the past.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

7Design for Ethical Production

This is about design that utilises and invests in traditional craft skills in the UK and abroad. It is about ethical production which supports and values workers rights, and the sourcing of fair trade materials. It questions what ethical production means, and how it differs for each scale of production and manufacture.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

8Design to Reduce the Need to Consume

This strategy is about making stuff that lasts, stuff that we really want and want to keep and look after, and the design and production of textiles and products which adapt and change with age. This strategy is also about exploring alternative forms of design and consumption such as co-design and collaborative consumption.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

9Design to Dematerialise & Develop Systems & Services

This strategy introduces the concept of designing systems and services instead of, or to support, products, e.g. lease, share, repair.

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Research and Writing about this strategy →

10Design Activism

In this final strategy we encourage designers to leave behind the product and work creatively with the consumers and society at large. It is about designing events and communication strategies beyond product design to increase consumer and designer knowledge about the environmental and social impacts of fashion and textiles. Here, the textile designer becomes a ‘Social Innovator’. We reflect on how much has changed for textile designers, and how much potential for the future there is!

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Research and Writing about this strategy →