Saturday, July 30, 2011

5 Fun Stories of Sustainability and Enviromental Consciousness

Over the last 10 years sustainability has become a focus of the future in the realm of design. It  presses beyond being just efficient, attractive, on time and on budget. It is a field that cares about how such goals are achieved, about its effect on people and on the environment. In a way it is the next step in our evolutionary process. Society is now leaping past survival of the fittest to a world in which cooperative efforts will better the lives of people and cultures around the globe. While sustainable design is pushing boundaries, making society think outside of the box, and bringing nations around the globe together in efforts of conservation and compassion, it still has a long road ahead of it.

Questions that press sustainable designers now are: How can we implement sustainable design? What sort of influence does sustainable design have over sustainable consumption? How can we motivate those who just don't care? The best we can do for now is spread the knowledge we've learned and hope that those who don't care will come around eventually.

One of my favorite fields in the multifaceted world of sustainable design is, of course, fashion. Today I am  introducing 5 people or ideas that I believe are important players in this developing movement...

The Ethical Fashion Forum recently published a special issue titled: Fashion and Textile Strategies for Sustainable Design and Consumption. In this issue they are asking for papers concerning the sustainable design movement. Kirsi Niinimaki of Aalto University is the guest editor of this issue. She explains some of the shortcomings in the realm of sustainable fashion: "The environmental and ethical issues in the textile and clothing industry are complex, and traditionally they have been seen through a very limited lens. The focus has mainly been on eco-materials or ethical manufacturing principles." Kirsi is part of the cooperative effort to bridge the current knowledge and practices concerning sustainable fashion and textile design to contemporary consumption patterns. "The focus is in a multidisciplinary approach of research fields such as new sustainable design strategies, system thinking, new eco-materials, green economic systems, Product Service System thinking PSS and Sustainable Consumption Production approach SCP." To learn more about this project visit: CfP: Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

2)Popomomo, a brand carried here in Arcadia, stands for post-postmodern movement, creating intellectually sexy pieces that never play catch up. Popomomo draws inspiration from the world around us. They believe sustainability is an important function and purpose of design. All of their pieces are designed and made of sustainable fabrics in Los Angeles.

Okala is a Hopi Indian word that translates into enviro-speak as “life sustaining energy.” IDSA sites Oren Lyons, Faith keeper of the Onondaga, as saying, “What you people call your natural resources our people call our relatives.” Hopi Indians, a people dating back 5,000 to 10,000 years to the Aztecs of Mexico, have developed a sustainable lifestyle and harmony with Nature that have allowed them to survive in peace in the arid and harsh environment of Northern Arizona. The Okala Ecological Design course attempts to stimulate ecodesign ideas and products whose sustainability can be quantifiably verified. One of the major tools that they use to verify sustainability in designs and products is the U.S. EPA’s Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and other environmental Impacts (TRACI) to measure the environmental impact for Sustainability Metrics, Life Cycle Assessment, Industrial Ecology, Process Design, and Pollution Prevention.
The Okala Ecological Design course examines and explores intelligent and sustainable eco-design from a broad and comprehensive set of perspectives including historical, environmental, scientific, engineering, aesthetics, social, economic, cultural, health and mystical/religious. Hopefully, courses such as this will become more common and perhaps even required in all high schools and universities.

Who here loves TED? I know I do! Check out this inpiring video of designer Jessi Arrington that focuses on conscious consumption!!

Here at Arcadia, we are proud to support Daughters of the Revolution. Launched by Emily Cadenhead in 2007, Daughters of the Revolution is a family business committed to sustainable design. The team works on a micro-level carefully selecting ethically and environmentally responsible techniques for their garments. Not only do they use a combination of organic clothes, natural fibers, and silks, but also much of their sequines and beadworks are made of recycled materials. They set a powerful example for those designers who wish to become sustainable fashion brands, and on top of that, they have really cute stuff!!

Sustainable designers and players, we salute you. Keep doing your best to bring awareness to this pressing matter.


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