Final Blog 11: The end or The Beginning

As this semester comes to an end, I look back and see that my view on sustainability within the apparel industry has changed in some ways more than others. Looking at sustainable design now I would define it as keeping all factors in mind when designing to find the most optimal and effective way of coming to ones end result. And when I look at sustainability now I feel as though it is adhering with all outside factors in mind to be mindful of how our actions will affect the long run. Keeping these things in mind and looking back I do not believe that my concepts have changed, but instead I believe that they have been broadened and that I have been enlightened.

Prior to this journey I believe that sustainability to me was extremely black and white. After this semester I feel as though sustainability is something that can extrinsic as well as intrinsic. We were given examples of Empathic design that have sustainable design principles, not because they were marketing as sustainable but because they were designing with someone else’s needs in mind. We as people feel that sustainability is a large jump that we have to make, instead of keeping in mind that it is something that can be done in baby steps as well. We lose sight that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

Looking back there are some epiphanies that I had that I will take with me forever. Some of which being my understanding of Empathic design, my understanding of my carbon footprint and learning about closing the loop. Looking back at the beginning of class I know that in the back of my mind that I understood old age makes day-to-day life harder, but I really did not understand to what degree. Taking a day to just experience some of the things that older adults experience everyday truly opened my eyes to how we should be designing clothes, to displays and signage for all consumers. We truly take for granted that we are not only trying to appeal to the target market but also who might be buying the clothes for the target market in these situations.

Empathic design before to me would only have stopped at designing for those with disabilities or those with old age, but learning about the interior side and how we can design for those in hospitals and those with developmental disorders opened my eyes to how we can touch others lives outside our normal idea of where our fields take us after college. Moving to my carbon footprint, I didn’t know it was that awful. And to be honest I probably retook my quiz just so I wouldn’t be as embarrassed. More than anything it made me more conscious of my actions around the house. I find myself unplugging appliances, turning off fans and lights throughout the house just to be more mindful of what energy I am using. All things that prior to this journey, I really wouldn’t have thought twice about.

Finally I feel as though I have taken a concept away that I truly understand, closing the loop. Without this class I don’t believe that I would have understood what it truly meant. Finding a way to continue the production cycle to make sure that we move from disposing of goods to making them into something new or something that it started it’s journey as. Believe me when I say this, these were all things that when first introduced, I really didn’t want to accept. But isn’t that how all-new things are. We as people don’t like change in our lives. Something new and unknown can be scary or confusing. Much like all this has been, at first it was extremely confusing, I mean new concepts and ways of designing. Who wants to change how they’ve been doing things for years? The saying is if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. But what we’re failing to see is that it is broken. There is a reason that we need to change our way of thinking. That’s because we are losing chances to make a change in the world.

Looking forward with my journey in this class I hope that I continue to be enlightened with new information and new concepts of how I can be sustainable and design sustainable throughout life. I really had no preconceived notions on sustainability before coming into this class. So for me there isn’t anything that I wish I would have learned. However I wish coming into this I would have known a little more on the concept so it wouldn’t have all been so new to me. All in all walking around from this class I feel like I can say that it has been a journey, something that can be an analogy for sustainability in our industry and in the world. It is going to take small steps to get to our end destination, but like with all journeys we have to start somewhere. So we might as well start now, because if not now then when.

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