:: Specific Design Brief




The fashion industry is often considered responsible for the high environmental impact caused during the production, manufacture and disposal of textiles.

Reusing and recycling are considered important criteria to address environmental concerns. Develop a textiles product that attempts to reduce environmental impact.

At least one million tonnes of textiles that we throw away in the UK every year could be reused or recycled!

Currently, textiles make up around 4% of household waste with around 75% going to landfill sites. Textiles in landfill contribute to environmental impact.

Reuse and Recycle
Textiles are often reclaimed in two ways:
Reused: where a product is used to make another product with little or no processing.
Recycled: there are two ways of recycling textile materials; mechanically, where fibres are pulled apart and reworked into yarn, and chemically where fibres are re-polymerised into a chemical and spun. Polyester is the main synthetic fibre to be recycled.

Go to www.demi.org.uk then follow materials, textiles, lifecycle links.
www.kettex.com One of the UK’s leading processors of second-hand clothing.
Thers’s lots of good stuff on www.e4s.org.uk/textilesonline

For inspirational products
www.biothinking.com - fashion and furnishings from reused and recycled textiles.
www.earthfashions.com - garments and accessories from re-processed textiles.
www.stepin.org/casestudy.php?id=fleeces - Patagonia fleece case study and general research about reuse and recycle.

• Textile products have varying environmental impacts throughout their life (production, use and care, disposal). There is an activity in the DfES Key Stage 3 National Strategy pp319-20 that your teacher might be able to show you how to use. It will help develop your ideas on environmental impact. A set of cards for the activity is available from the Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk)
• Check out www.demi.org.uk (follow material, textiles, product use links) for ideas on environmental impact in a range of textiles products throughout their lifecycle. Does it give you any ideas for which textiles products are better to reuse to minimise environmental impact?
• Reusing textiles is an effective way of reducing impact on the environment as there is a considerable reduction in the environmental costs associated with producing and manufacturing textiles. How does this differ from recycling textiles?

• A common reuse of textiles in the UK is organised by the charity shops that sell second hand clothes. Often these clothes are transported overseas to developing countries. What are the environmental and social impacts? Visit www.kettex.com

• Recycling reduces the environmental impact associated with the use of virgin materials and manufacturing processes involved in textiles. However there is much debate about whether the impact of transporting textiles to a recycling unit has a higher environmental cost than other waste options for textiles. What do you think?

If you decide to work on this design brief, don't forget to consider the issues of sustainability in the different phases of your designing and making.
Click here to access Sustain-a-balls