The beginning of my sustainability journey

I remember on the first day of this course going around the room and explaining what we thought being sustainable was. I can’t even really remember what I said, but I probably summed it up in a word or two. I didn’t even know what we were going to do in the class; the only reason I enrolled in it was because I had to. After finishing this course I have a better grasp on what sustainability actually is. It can be summed up in a bunch of ways but I like to think of it as living harmoniously with the environment and creating in a way that does no harm to anything. Sustainability is changing our daily practices so that we can live a better tomorrow. It is also being proactive, and knowing how what we do today can and will affect the future.

I think something that was a huge take away from the course was that we can’t just sit around and wait until the last minute to change. The longer we wait to change our ways the harder it is going to be to reverse the damage we’ve done to the environment. There are so many different ways we can be more environmentally friendly. Before the course I didn’t know how many different ways there were, I had heard of bio mimicry and a few others but I didn’t really know much about them.

I remember as we were going through this course feeling as if it was attacking my major, but it was good to hear about what was being done to fix the problems. In a couple of the LOLA shows we learned about companies that practiced designing sustainably. One of the LOLA presentations I thought was the coolest was about a company that produces zero textile waste during production, I actually get the chance to intern for them this summer! I’m really excited to expand my knowledge of sustainable design.  This is an opportunity I only have because I enrolled in this course and was shown the company.

One of the sustainability concepts I got the chance to expand on was cradle-to-cradle. For the final project Ariel & I used the cradle-to-cradle concept to dye fabric. We made up a textile mill that would grow vegetables and plants that would be used to make natural dyes. After the plants were used to make dye baths the used plants would then be composted and used as fertilizer for the plants. I’m glad that through this project we were able to apply what we learned in class.

I do wish that this course was a series of two, the first a general overview of the practices and then the second directed at either interior or apparel. I think that a sustainability course should be required a lot earlier than spring of the senior year. I look back at all the projects I’ve made while in apparel design and realize how wasteful I was. I think that if this course was taken earlier in college, students would get the chance to apply some of the sustainable practices they learned or at least be less wasteful. Overall I’m really glad I took this course!

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