Eighth Blog Entry – DHM 4573

This week left a lot of room to independently study concepts of biomimicry and industrial ecology in connection with apparel design, which I thought was a nice insight. I not only got to brainstorm my own ideas and connections, but see what other apparel design majors thought the correlation between the two was.

In activity 1, we brainstormed functions of both a tree and a jacket to see what their similarities were and how the application of a tree’s functions could apply to our field of study. We found that there we already many attributes of a tree that could be seen in the functionality of a jacket, such as protection for the sun, the wind, and decoration. It also showed how many aspects are not in correlation to our design of a jacket, and how much further we can go when it comes to biomimicry. This connected well with activity 2, where we then looked at solutions that nature provides for problems in our own field. These were things such as looking at waterproof properties of plans and incorporating them into fabric, or looking at a spider’s silk to find ideas for stronger thread.

We then went outside for activity 3 and assisted each member in our group around the court yard in order to see if we can find an object that we had previously been told to touch. This proved incredibly difficult and was a great insight to how blind we are to our actions in relation to the environment. Without the guidance of another group member, it was almost impossible to find the item that we had previously touched with so many plants around. I think this shows that without guidance on how to take the environment into account, it is impossible for someone to live in an eco-friendly manner. We then listed out five environmental challenges and wrote down how we could show others their impact and what they could do to change their ways.

We then went on to use these functions we had been previously brainstorming to look at someone we think is interesting and something we don’t like and to come up with a sustainable solution for fabric in our field. Both the feathers of the duck (something that just needs to be rinsed, not washed) and the low-maintenance nature of the concrete (also affordable and fire-proof) would be great inspirations for a low maintenance and affordable fabric that could be used in a garment. This connected well to activity 5, where we then looked at how these aspects of a tree could be implement on an even larger scale: marketing and suitability within an apparel product overall. We touched on aspects such as the many branches of the tree representing the variety of possibilities when designing, as well as the many areas of design that contributes poorly toward the environment and how we can learn from the cyclic nature of the tree to reduce these contributions.

On Wednesday, we then saw more LOLA presentations, which I thought were very centralized around biophilia. It was interesting to see biophilia used in so many different settings, such as in a store, home, or the creation of a chair. Each presentation that I was able to see showed the different properties that biophilia could use, my favorite being the atmosphere that biophilia can build with things such as risk and safety, or prospect and mystery. I could see this in work areas such as google, or in the intriguing patterns of the carpet inspired by the ocean. I really loved looking at how companies not only mimic nature, but make these creations beautiful and sustainable. It was also nice to see that there was a company that provided checks and levels of cradle-to-cradle sustainability to not only make sure the companies were properly implementing these aspects, but also to make the consumer aware of the companies effort to help the environment and the people working within their company. I did not know such a company existed and I hope to one day take these aspects, implement them, and gain a certification of my own for my designs. In this way I can implement sustainable methods and also be sure that my company is fair trade as well as local.

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