week five:waste

“there is no such thing as waste” (kerryn caulfied 2010)

Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Kerryn Caulfield, a fashion designer turned textiles-know-it-all had a world of impressive knowledge t share with nt only the fashion students but every word she said was relevant to design. She began as a fashion designers, trained from the beginning, and eventually realised how important it was to know the impact these fabrics were having on the natural environment.

Textiles are everywhere- all materials from clothing to transportation, objects to shape the landscape (coastal stabilization) to playground equipment. Therefore the impact textiles have on the environment is important to consider. In industrial design textiles are what our designs are made of, it’s important to know how effective it is in it’s use, and what affect it is going to have before, during and after use. Is it going to last, perform as desired, fulfill the design function and aesthetics? And once these things are considered, we should think…well, is there a better option that will do these things? A better option will be more sustainable, eco friendly, exist on earth in harmony with the natural elements, it should slip into and out of existence without any impact or noise.

The problem is that billions of tonnes of waste is generated in australia every year, from textiles, material, products. Waste generation is increasing, growth at 7% per year whilst population is only 1.5%. And a large portion of our textiles are garments, a necessary item for human beings, at least nowadays in western societies, and our clothing changes every season, and we want to follow fashion trends so we change our wardrobes, even the furniture and soft furnishings in our homes, and throw away the old.

Opportunity shops. One mans trash is another man’s treasure….

Photo Credit: http://www.melhotornot.com

Eco-friendly fashion exists in the form of buying from op shops and charity stores (for a retro, vintage style)and eco friendly manufacturing processes and materials.

Unfortunately most of us can’t get around in natural gear like this.

Photo Credit: GQ

Luckily for us in Australia we have charitable recycling which is not common in other countries, however unfortunately of the 230,000 tonnes donated 35.2% goes to landfill, which can leave charities with a hefty bill. Other problems are the use of advance textiles. These are made so that they don’t break down, they are super strong, blast resistant, water resistant etc for example protective military clothing, which has a shelf life of 3 years before it is disposed of. other examples of clothes with a built in shelf life are uniforms. They can’t really be incorporated into one’s everyday wardrobe especially if they are uniforms with advertised sponsors linked to the business. Once the sponsor changes they must change the uniform, and hence throw the uniform out as they can’t have people wearing their uniforms when they are not part of the business or group. This is a real current issue we wear literally on our sleeve every day, we pick it up to read with our morning coffee and we sit on it in the office. This talk on waste was just uncovering the tip of the ice berg and we as designers are responsible for that waste. We create it so others can consume it and throw it away. We should think about that.

Where is it coming from and where is it going…

All textiles come from something…

Photo Credit: http://www.lazyenvironmentalist.com

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