:: Specific Design Brief




Few young people are aware of environmental or fair-trade issues around the fashion industry.

Develop a textiles product (or a range) that will contain a message that will help develop interest in such issues.

Develop a textiles product for an environmentally friendly fashion company, portraying the values of the organisation.

Few of us living in the UK are aware of the journey of an item of clothes before it reaches the shops.

Most of the fibre and fabric manufacturing, production (fabric finishing, dyeing) takes place in complex assembly lines across the globe.
Can you imagine what life is like for people who make your jeans and T-shirts? Many of the clothes we buy in the high street are made in sweatshops, where workers receive low wages and work in poor conditions.

To find out more about environmental and social issues in textiles visit www.labourbehindthelabel.org to research into issues current issues and campaigns in the textiles industry.

Textile products are often used to communicate messages. Find some messages that have been communicated to you on an item of clothing/textiles product. What was the designer trying to tell you?

Check out organisations that communicate messages on their products
www.peopletree.co.uk  (reference fair trade dress)
www.howies.co.uk (T-shirts)
www.biothinking.com (environmental messages)
www.oxfam.org.uk (fair-trade t-shirts)
www.katharinehamnett.com  (a designer who campaigns on issues through clothes)

Howies is a small active clothing company based in Cardigan Bay, on the West Coast of Wales. It is Cardigan Bay’s third biggest clothing company. It makes clothes for the sports it loves – mountain biking, skateboarding, snowboarding and the outdoor.

Howies has a certain way of doing things. It believes in quality and making products that last longer, which is better for the environment in the long run. It also believes in making products in a low impact way (for example, all its t-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans, etc are made from organic cotton).
Its mission is to make people think about stuff and it often uses print as a vehicle to do this.

It tries entertain us rather than ranting at people. Its t-shirts and other printed tops, which sell really well, are designed by top illustrators, artists and their in-house designers.

If you want to know more about Howies visit (www.howies.co.uk)
Check out the think section on the environment and don’t miss out on their clothing specification, when you look at individual products.

They are a small team, so please use the website as much as possible. But if you need to contact a designer [email protected]

• Consider material choices in the design of your products. For information on materials visit (www.sda-uk.org Go into Students, enter, Materials, Textiles) and consider advantages and disadvantages of different materials.
• Communicating messages is a tricky business. Be clear about your message and involve your audience in the planning and development.
• Printing is one of the most complex areas for manufacturers. Check out www.demi.org.uk (material production/textiles/printing) for information on environmental considerations.

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: [email protected]

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