This week required a lot of brain storming and creative thinking, which helped me advance in my sustainable journey. By taking the information we have learned in class and applying it to realistic scenarios, I was able to gain experience from an outside of class perspective.
During the past two classes, my learning community and I worked a lot with upcycling scenarios. My favorite activity took place at the Botanical Gardens, when we drew parallels between Industrial Ecology and an apparel store environment. Each week I envision my future as an apparel merchandiser and notice myself understanding the relationship with sustainability, better than before. As my learning community and I brainstormed ways to compare models, the concept became more clear to me. The steps of a tree growing are simple: it begins with planting a seed, as the seed receives water and sunlight it spurts into small leaves, then continues to grow into branches, develops large trunks, and eventually grows into a large tree. However when the tree dies, humans take a seed from the same tree to plant a new one and start the cycle over. The construction of garments within store environments mirror this exact process in the same simplistic way. We begin with a fiber, and like the seed the fiber goes through many changes like spinning or weaving to become a textile fabric. After cutting and sewing it forms into a print which forms the garment, such as a trunk forms the tree. Lastly the garment is screen printed and formed into a finished garment.
The last step to the cycle above is the one that most of mankind forgets to follow through to. Taking the seed to regrow another tree is the most critical part. In order to upcycle or recycle we have to incorporate taking a part of an old garment and use it to reconstruct a new one. By mimicking natures process we can adjust to the natural ways of sustainable living. During the Design Slam activity our group was challenged to come up with an innovative idea to upcycle old garments. By following the steps we came up with in the previous assignment, we were able to construct an idea pretty easily. We designed “One of a Kind Find,” a store that collects unwanted garments and allows consumers to reconstruct them in their own stylish way. By updating our website with new fabrics received each week, our customers can design a new, one of a kind garment, in a sustainable fashion.
These activities have taught me how easy it was to incorporate sustainable design into the manufacturing of clothing by simply mimicking natures patterns. Sometimes the concept can seem complex, but by following the natural sequence of growth I have learned that it is much easier to perform sustainable practices.