Revolution on the Mind

This is really the end, for the moment at least. This is my final blog post. Out of habit the words “final paper” almost led the title of this post. And so this thought leads the discussion of my sustainable journey. I remember when I consciously made the decision (my junior year of undergraduate studies) to seldom take hand written class notes on paper. I originally thought I was keeping up with the times, my peers seemed very tech savvy and I was afraid to fall behind on the learning curve. I came to realize that not only have I developed a few skills in technology but the paper notes that once cluttered the space in my back pack and filled the boxes in my closet have been isolated to USB drives and memory on my computer. Furthermore this reflection on two years of change in my study habits promoted two years of sustainable habit. I used to spend hours shredding old notes, adding to waste that pollutes our planet. These days, a click of a button to my computer ‘trash can’ is all but a moment to accomplish clearing my files. I’m also able to transfer knowledge with ease via e-mail and Dropbox instead of hand delivering notes, or essays. This change has reduced landfill waste, the use of fossil fuels for paper production and emissions from automobile travel. I know it may seem like I’m digging deep on this topic but sustainability IS DEEP. It is a simple change, one that many of us have come to practice- reduce paper usage. Can you see how one small change has an impact that result in a better environment?

Now that my tangent is over, I can truly say this deep thought was a result of my studies in Sustainable Design in Apparel and Interiors.

Over the last three months, I’ve literally picked apart the smallest details in design. I’ve had the luxury of working in retail in order to do this. Many discussions with clients have been over the importance of empathic design. It is becoming prevalent that women are advised by their medical practitioners to no longer carry shoulder bags because of the strain it places on the back and shoulders. Conversations also revolve around making wise investments choices on handbags that are multifunctional and durable. The motivation behind this is to stop compromising on handbags that suit only one aspect of the owner’s life. For example mothers may option in for a large tote bag to keep the majority of their children’s travel items with them on the go. Experienced mothers may also keep a wristlet wallet within or choose a tote that is highly compartmentalized. Throughout the years, owners will go through many bags to “do” or “have” one particular element. The mother turned grandmother will eventually go for a smaller more manageable handbag. While keeping in mind that every handbag owner makes choices based on their lifestyle, there are a few key elements of an efficient handbag that often go overlooked: weight, capacity, and functionality.

I propose a handbag revolution!

Okay, maybe the thought of a lifetime bag is overzealous but I’m thinking DESIGN SLAM everyday that I work in the handbag department. Often times, design ideas and conversations with clients are what help me get through the weekends!

Another thing, all things handbags and retail waste- I used to be maintain frustration with how trending multimillion-dollar brands like Kate Spade and Michael Kors often ship massive boxes containing paper fluff, plastic wraps, tie offs, and foam-all for one or a few handbags. Although I still am peeved by the idea that these companies have the resources to make drastic and sustainable changes in their packaging, I look for SOLUTIONS fewer COMPLAINTS. I look at positive examples of sustainable packaging like the methods The SAK may use. I then imagine my own entrepreneurial endeavors to use similar, if not better practices.

I believe I’ve provided examples to all prompts needed to complete the final blog but a brief summary is as follows:

  • Sustainability to me is the ability to seek value beyond materials and to maintain integrity in design that is suitable for individuals and the environment. At the beginning of this class, I thought sustainability was all about being minimalistic but I have come to discover it is all about planning, innovation, observation and research.
  • I’ve discussed the epiphanies that I’ve encountered at work and with my study habits that have helped to mold me to be aware of entrepreneurial endeavors in sustainable design.
  • Now that I know there are solutions to frustrating sustainable issues, I can focus on a future of innovative design with empathy for the consumer!
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