From the ground to your closet, but what happens after we don’t want a garment anymore? They say that 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design stage, so how can we make design a force for good? Circular design has come to the scene to make us rethink the products we create, so that we know exactly what happens after.
Design is creation with intention, so when design becomes circular the intention becomes to close the loop, creating ideally zero waste. Basically this means in simple terms that we are creating products that are made to be re-made.
The circular economy is based on three principles:
- Design out waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
So how can we achieve these 3 principles? Let’s take a look at the two main strategies when it comes to designing circular products.
Design for durability
As the name suggests, when we create based on the product’s durability we are investing in high quality materials that will last in time. The garments are created to last as long as possible, just as that coat your grandmother got when she was a teenager and you inherited. This falls back into the quality of the fabrics, but also the quality of the stitches, the zippers, buttons and details, as well as the instructions given to the customer of how to take proper care of the garment.
Design for cyclability
When designing products for cyclability, we intend to enable multiple uses and life cycles of a product and it’s materials. Under this umbrella of life cycles we can incorporate many elements such as repair services, modularity or disassembly of the product, recycling (mono materials), re-use or re-purpose options or designing for biodegradability.
What is the lifecycle of the product going to be? What will happen after a consumer doesn’t want it anymore? How can we maintain resources for as long as possible in the loop? And how can we maintain the value of these resources in its lifecycle? These are the questions that all brands should be asking themselves before even creating a product. How do you think we can transition to a more circular design based fashion industry?