Sustainability education for Designers

Relevant people in the sector took part in a very interesting webinar promoted by The Digital Material Show and expressed their point of view about the role of the designer in the fashion industry to achieve sustainable goals:

  • Jim Chi, team builder across Product, Marketing, Sales and Operations in the apparel, consumer products, building supplies, sporting goods and retail industries.
  • Caroline Priebe, sustainable fashion designer, stylist, consultant and educator, founder of CAGM
  • Pete Lankford, footwear industry consultant, designer and creative director of Timberland
  • Alex Carlson, footwear designer and illustrator
  • Professor Matthew Rhoades, strategic design professor and global creative director of Nike
  • Britta Cabanos, designer and consultant
  • Sass Brown ethical fashion activist, writer, researcher and designer, founder of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation


The importance of Education 


The common idea is that education plays an important role in raising awareness among young people. It must introduce the idea of what sustainability is and how it works. Young people have to become more conscious about what it is happening in the world.

Professor Matthew Rhoades said that it is necessary to introduce new guidelines to young designers, explain to them how this work was done before and how it should be done today to become shapers of tomorrow. It is necessary to create problems and ask questions to find new ideas and solutions. 

The role of designers is not about solving patterns, color, shape, but it is solving sustainability matters of the brands, pointed Pete Lankford. It is time to move to a recycled content, build things that are not meant to come apart, but are meant to be repaired. 

New material technology is emerging in favor of a circular model, sensitizing the consumer to buy everlasting things, with the end of reduced consumption and, consequently, production. 

Alex Carlson got the point of the speech, asking the question: why? Why can a tank top cost 5$? All designers and consumers have to understand that the decisions made about buying and sourcing have external costs and cause effects on the planet and on humans, the aspect of sustainability that is often little considered. 

The professor Sass Brown has underlined and reiterated this concept, closing the panel with a deep consideration. The public has been misled about what value stands for, we need a massive culture shift in how we attribute value and what value means and this should not be just cost and price. 

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