After the semester long course on how to be sustainable and lead a sustainable lifestyle, I now define sustainability as a way to not be harmful to the environment or your surroundings by being mindful and conscious of one’s actions and wastes. I define sustainable design as designing with a purpose and clear thought process with an understanding of how your design will affect the environment and world around you from cradle to grave or cradle-to-cradle. Both of these definitions are much different than what I thought they were at the beginning of this semester. I have a deeper understanding of sustainability and sustainable design now, so I believe my definitions of the two are much more educated and accurate than they were in August.
I really enjoyed when Dr. Jayadas provided the link for us to see what our carbon footprint was. This was a major turning point in the semester for me as it turned the focus of sustainability to my lifestyle and me. I hadn’t realized how wasteful I could be, and this brought simple things such as how often the dishwasher is ran into perspective. This carbon footprint exercise is really what inspired me to do my Lola show over the importance of water later in the semester, because it showed me how wasteful I had been with even leaving the sink on while brushing my teeth. I enjoyed learning about cradle-to-cradle and the analogies we were asked to come up with from the cradle-to-cradle aspect of a tree and correlate it with the apparel industry. Each day whether it be a Ted talk about food = waste or the articles read such as the little brown dress, I definitely learned and strengthened my knowledge of my sustainable journey. I enjoyed learning about biomimicry and could really tell in the last design slam how much my learning community overall had learned this semester as well, when we were challenged to relate our design to a sustainability theory. The sand bur and Velcro relating to biomimicry that would attach our toy device to the cart for young Leo, made me excited about how our brains now automatically could come up with these ideas. By far my favorite section of the course though was learning about empathic design. I think empathic design is so unique because it is the way to actually see something through someone else’s mind, eyes, and environment. I am especially excited that as I head to Target Headquarters for my apparel design job shadow and interview, their design value statement basically says in their own words that they design empathically. So I can use my knowledge from this class to help me relate to the Target executives. Although our sustainable journey in this class may be nearing the end, our sustainable journey is never truly over.
I would love to continue to learn more about empathic design and new ways that I can be sustainable and reduce my carbon footprint. I believe that we should never stop learning and growing, so although I have learned in class how I might reduce my carbon footprint I know I can always learn more. Empathic design is close to my heart and I would love to be able to implement this into my own apparel designs in the future, so I will continue to read and learn more about this process. This course far exceeded my expectations of what I would be able to learn in a semester, and I am so grateful for the knowledge I have attained that I did not yet have in August.