:: Specific Design Brief
DESIGNED TO LAST: A CHALLENGE FOR THE FASHION
GENERIC DESIGN CONTEXT
The fashion industry contributes towards environmental problems in the UK and
other countries by its interest in producing fashion for one season.
Reduce environmental impact by producing a textiles product that will stand the
test of time.
Did you know that in the UK we throw away an amazing one million tonnes of
textiles each year? Much of this ends up in landfill sites, which contribute
towards environmental impact.
But what are the alternatives?
The best environmental option for textiles (even above reuse and recycling) is
waste minimisation. By that, we mean making LESS THINGS! and therefore cutting
down on the environmental impact involved in producing fibres and fabrics,
production processes, transport costs, etc.
Other options include challenging the built-in obsolescence from the fashion
industry and wearing clothes for longer and therefore ensuring that textiles are
manufactured to last.
In addition consideration should be given to how all textiles can be easily and
cost-effectively reused or recycled at their end of life.
Know your materials
Some materials and construction techniques give textiles harder wearing
It’s a tricky business making an informed choice and there are no easy
solutions. To help you inform choice materials choices for your project visit
www.sda-uk.org/materials for information about natural and synthetic fibres
their advantages and disadvantages.
Products that are designed to last are often described as durable. Such products
use strong materials which can resist use and wear and will be manufactured to a
Check out the Sustainable Design award website (www.sda-uk.org,
go into Sustain-a-balls, Generating ideas, Environmental, durability) for
information on durability.
or Trendstop Ltd, Amplefuture House, Quadrant Park, 135 Salisbury Road, London,
NW6 6RJ UK tel; 0870 333 0707.
- gives lots of useful information.
• Think of existing textiles products that you and your friends and family have.
Which ones stand the test of time? What features do they have?
• Explore design classics, products where the designer has designed the product
to last a long time. What features do they have? How much do they cost in
comparison to less hard-wearing products?
• The fashion industry builds in product oboscelence for profit. What marketing
tactics are used to encourage people to throw clothes away and buy more after
• Some clothes have been designed for multiple purpose use. For example,
trousers with zip off legs to make them into shorts. Evaluate whether multiple
purpose is a useful design feature to cut down on waste.
Identify design companies that have produced products to last. Find out if they
are happy to give you feedback on your project ideas. If you need general
feedback on your project sustainability
INTERESTED? WHAT’S NEXT
Check out some of the suggested websites above and then go on to the Sustainable
Design Award website www.sda-uk.org to work
through your project. If you need any extra support email:
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.
here to access Sustain-a-balls