I think, before this class, I viewed sustainability as a very narrow practice for people who were able to drastically alter their lifestyle in an effort to save the planet. Now, I see sustainability as a must, and I now know that this can be achieved by even the smallest lifestyle change, by being conscious of our waste, to lessening the amount of times a week we do laundry. I think sustainability means being conscious about what we are doing that is harming our planet and taking the necessary actions to reverse the harm we have caused. As far as sustainable design goes, I think there are several different ways we could view this concept. We could design products or processes that would directly help the many crisis’s of the world. We could also be aware when we design regular consumer products and make sure we are keeping in mind the long term effect they could have and what its lifecycle looks like so we know that it can either be useful to the environment after its product use is finished, or that it can be easily and properly disposed of after the fact. My favorite design concept was by far Empathic Design because I agree so much that it is important for us to keep in mind the person we are designing for and their needs when we are thinking about new product design. I do think there are ways we can keep sustainability in mind, as buyers, designers, or visual merchandisers.
One take away from this class that has stood out to me is how aware the world is beginning to become about the problems with our planet. From several LOLA Shows, I found that there are plenty of companies out there that are making an effort to promote how sustainable they are and what they are doing to help the planet because they know their consumers are concerned and notice those things. As I said in the previous paragraph, I also think an important ideology I learned was that sustainability starts at such a small scale and with each individual person and everyone working together is what causes the global sustainability effort. Word of mouth is so important, because if we can get across to others the issues we see in the world, it can open their eyes and cause them to practice sustainability, and from there it is a domino effect. It is hard to picture my lifestyle changing and I think I used to be under the impression that I was being told to change my entire lifestyle or else I wouldn’t be considered an asset to the sustainability agenda, but I am now realizing that there are small efforts I can make every day that can be helpful in the end.
I would be interested of specific examples of companies in the textile industry that are working to fix the amount of waste they produce, if there are any. We are constantly told that the textile industry is responsible for so much waste in the world but are never really given any examples of who and why and how, which are things I’d be interested in knowing. Also, as some of my classmates have mentioned, it was at times hard to relate to this class because, as a Merchandising major, I feel as though it didn’t apply. I would much rather see this class either targeted to us just as humans/college students/individuals than our majors because I don’t feel as though our major was represented much within the curriculum. It was also a little frustrating to be given so many design assignments, because I chose my major to learn about merchandising and chose not to pursue design because it isn’t what I am interested in/good at. I think sustainability is so important to learn about, but I think this class should be geared to us as just people able to make a change so that we don’t feel misrepresented or as if this is a waste of time because it doesn’t apply to us. I think I learned things in this class that I might have gone my life without knowing as far as issues with our planet goes and I do feel glad to be more aware because of this class.