Design Activism

This week, we focused on the new concept of design activism, which can easily be confused with active design. I already knew that active design was designing in way to support a healthy and active lifestyle. Active design can be found in many major cities who are implementing different design structures to encourage their citizens to become more active. Active design is different than design activism though.

Tim Brown’s article explains design activism in a simple way by saying it is “designing for people, not for profit”. Most retailers these days design and create products based solely on the final purpose of making a profit. Everyone is only concerned with how much money they will be making. Tim Brown’s reading speaks about how instead they should be thinking about the people who be using their products. Who will use it and what do they need in this product? Those are questions that are asked through design activism.

In class, we also discussed natural and human capital. We spoke about how this relates to the process of manufacturing clothing. For example, manufacturers can create good human capital by paying higher wages to more skilled workers rather than paying for cheap labor in third-world countries. On the other hand, manufacturers can create good natural capital by using a sustainable manufacturing process that won’t be wasted rather than creating fast-fashion that will just be thrown away.

At the end of class on Tuesday, we met with our learning communities and discussed our solution to creating a sustainable Halloween party. My group came up with quite a few ideas. We decided that at our party our guests would carve pumpkins, cook the pumpkin seeds for a party snack, and then compost the rest of the pumpkin. This would reduce all waste. We would also have a sustainable costume concept to encourage our guests to make their costumes from recycled items rather than buy new costumes. We also would use totes bags to trick-or-treat rather than plastic or paper.

To conclude this week, we got the opportunity of listening to a guest speaker on Thursday, Maria Thiry from the AATCC. She spoke more about the ongoing sustainability discussion we have had during this class. From her presentation, I learned that many major companies say they practice sustainably, but in reality, they do one or two good things and over exaggerate how sustainable their practices are. I also learned about the many ways that the AATCC encourages companies to practice sustainability.

I learned a lot this week, but sadly it came to an unfortunate end when the cowboys lost to OU. 😥

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