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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!