For this week’s class we have been focusing on sustainability and the environment in our reading. The reading was about environmental degradation and the class was split into a YES and NO group, depending on what their major is and which side of the article they should read. I was assigned to the YES seeing how I am majoring in Apparel Design and Production. While reading the article from this week, I noticed that there was a common theme for the Yes column from this reading and from the last and that was that they both touched on sustainability, they each took a different approach on the matter of environmental degradation. This reading breaks down what environmental degradation is for those that aren’t familiar with the term and that environmental degradation is the loss in environmental quality from pollutants and improper land use. The article allowed me to have a better understanding on how poverty remains the root of cause, and how the poor are forced into unsustainable practices because that is all that they have available to them. These practices that they are forced into lead to soil degradation and have a spiraling effect on the environment around them. I really enjoyed our reading from this week because it allowed me to think of what is going around in Stillwater and if there is anyone trying to help solve the problems that were discussed in this article. It also allowed me to process some topics that I wouldn’t have thought affect our environment and how they were caused. With that being say, I was surprised to find out the results that Leyla touched base on in her ted talk, she touched base on how innovative design in products can help others lead a more sustainable life. As a designer, her ted talk made me think of ways that I too can change the future of design by innovative design. When Leyla spoke about the instant tea kettle and how people who want to make one cup of tea put in 3 – 4 cups of water, which is more than what they need and the outcomes that it causes. She described how if people only used the amount of water that they needed for that cup of tea and nothing more, that England could save electricity to power one whole entire day for all of England. I was shocked by that, something that people do everyday as a constant routine, if they changed it just a little bit they could create an amazing difference in their country.
Another thing I have learned from this week is that sustainability has benefits on the business side of the fashion industry. According to rila.org, sustainability in merchandising allows for reduced costs and increased supplier reliability. Sustainability can also reduce risks, such as child labor. I think it is important for more businesses to make efforts and be held accountable for their actions and how those actions can affect the environment. I know a handful of businesses such as H&M and Zara have started recycling programs with their companies to tackle the throw away culture. I believe that Eco-design is the future of the fashion industry. Eco-design focuses on environmental protection throughout the lifetime of a product. It helps reduce harmful effects on the environment through manufacturing, using, and disposing of goods that the companies already have available to them, such as reusing cotton and turning an old tshirt into something new. I find the subject of sustainability very interesting and even wrote a speech over how certain brands in the fashion industry are doing their part in helping the environment by creating buyback programs. While researching for my speech I came across an article that discussed how Levi jeans created their program and accepts levi denim jeans and jackets from people because they discovered that a huge percentage of clothing in landfills was actually denim and they knew that they could do something to resolve the issue. They got people to participate in helping solve this problem by offering customers a gift card when they turn in used denim.