Puma Sustainable Design Collective

12th June 2012     Event Fashion Sustainable The Sustainable Angle

Written by Charlotte Turner

On 7th June, The Sustainable Angle had the pleasure of attending the third Puma Sustainable Design Collective session at the Puma Headquarters in central London. The event was attended by designers and sustainable fashion practitioners from Puma and beyond, and the Puma showroom itself showed evidence of ongoing progress regarding sustainable and ethical practice. Puma’s Sustainable Principles covered the walls, which had been developed by the evening’s host, Dr. Jonathan Chapman.

Dr. Chapman started the evening by recapping the previous sessions, where ‘Fashion & Sustainability’ co-author Kate Fletcher had spoken about designing for change, and the importance of transforming fashion products, fashion systems, and fashion design practice.

He poignantly observed how ‘people wait for the ‘paradigm shift’; a transitional moment when we awaken to see hidden associated impacts’ of our products. He observed that ‘we need faster and more immediate solutions’, and we need to ‘look at practical tangible tools’.

Rebecca Earley presenting ‘Thinking Big & Making it Real…’

The core session was led by Rebecca Earley, director of TFRC and Senior Research Fellow at TED, Chelsea. Rebecca’s stimulating talk provided a comprehensive overview of recent developments in sustainable textiles and fashion, and drew attention to the growing number of innovative ‘new cellulosics’ as well as innovative printing, dyeing and production processes such as air-dyeing, polyester ‘re-surfacing’, and longer life denim.

She also discussed how our research in sustainable fashion is based on the estimations that decisions made in design are responsible for 80-90% of a product’s environmental impact, and that cross discipline work is essential for sustainability. By using TED’s TEN as a starting point, she presented ‘Thinking Big & Making it Real: 50 ways to make better stuff (or stuff better)…’ to illustrate how designers can prioritize what is most important to their customer, brand, ethos, product and development aims in order to reduce the impacts of their products right now, whilst also motivating longer term, broader change.

The overall message though which was supported by highlighting a range of fantastic new innovations, seemed to be that to succeed sustainable design has to be the most desirable, the most functional, the most beautiful and also affordable – therefore we need to look at what people want and see that there is a sustainability opportunity. Although there are many challenges on the route to success, Peter Diamandis from TED is confident, saying there’s a ‘case for optimism – we’ll invent, innovate, and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us’.

Image source: http://tfrcconnections.blogspot.co.uk/