There is more to sustainability than using green materials, Lynda Grose said in a lecture on fashion and sustainability Jan. 31 in The Kanbar Campus Center.
Grose, the cofounder of Esprit’s “ecollection,” one of the first environmentally-focused clothing lines developed by a major apparel company, spoke about the role design plays in creating sustainable clothing and accessories.
“I wish I was still in college,” Grose said. “It’s a really exciting time to be looking at fashion and sustainability.”
When it comes to sustainability, many people think about choosing environmentally friendly materials or using fair-trade goods, but the design itself can also be a vital component. Grose shared many ideas currently in use in the industry to use design as a tool for promoting sustainability.
“We do a lot of research on why people buy things,” she said. “And it often comes down to the idea of people wanting to refresh themselves.” Some designers are building off the concept to create clothes that can be rearranged or reassembled into different products or styles, giving consumers a way to refresh their wardrobe without purchasing a new one.
Grose also talked about design as a process that involves the consumer. The introduction of 3D printing has created a wealth of new possibilities to involve the consumer in the design of a final product customized to fit that person’s desires. A lower tech way of giving consumers a design role is to create items that can be modified or completed at home or in a group setting.
Grose and co-author Kate Fletcher tackled the issue in detail in a book, Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change, which was released in March 2012.