This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader. More info here.
This post includes all original content created by Aquila Farrell.
The world of design is full of circles. Be it in architecture, historic patterns and even thought patterns, circles are everywhere. One of the more prominent shapes in design is the circle. The circle is the only closed shape with the same distance from any given point. The shape may have been created in the human mind, but despite its origin, the circle is a universal tool used by fashion designers.
In our lives we use circles to create more. Take a look at the examples below. They can be cut in two equal halves, attach the straight sides to the two tops of a square and you have a heart. Take a circle, cut it towards its center and turn it into a cone. You now have a party hat for your next birthday event. You can cut four circles out of fabric, and cut each towards the center and stitch each circle together at one open edge. Now you have a frill that can be added to the hem of a skirt or the front of a blouse. Make a circle out of flour, throw some pizza sauce on it and cheese you have a pizza. Yum!
CG Trader, the largest 3D model marketplace, asked me to share my thoughts about the future of design. As a designer of my own clothing, I believe the future of fashion design is trending towards the circle. Well, not just a circle, but to be more specific, a sweet circular form of dough, with green frosting. Sounds like a donut. Yes, the future of fashion design is a green donut. Here are my 4 reasons why.
The World is Green
The sky is blue and the trees are green but progress has led to an even greener landscape. Well, not in color, but in composition. You can’t even purchase a cup of coffee without being reminded of the option to recycle your cup or bring your own.
The world is also trending towards a sustainability model to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our earth safe. Going green has been a whisper in the fashion design world for decades. Now it is at the forefront of fashion design as consumers seek to spend their money with more green conscious brands.
The color green means GO and fashion designers have embraced the green light to avoid processes of manufacturing which may lead to hurting the earth and our bodies. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is one of the most toxic materials for our bodies and the environment. No other plastic contains as much harmful chemicals as PVC. O Ecotextiles reports that there is no safe way to manufacture or dispose of PVC due to the chemicals that go into it and those that are released. What does PVC look like in the fashion industry? Any handbag that contains vinyl or plastic is probably made of PVC.
Reflect on your own collection of handbags and I am sure you will discover some PVC lurking around. Despite the presence of PVC in many fashion collections, Gucci is just one designer with a focus on transitioning to more green materials. According to the The Washington Post, Gucci has traded PVC for polyurethane in their newest handbag design, the Dionysus. Even with the new eco-friendly material, the Dionysus has faired well in the marketplace.
Some fashion designers have taken steps to make clothing eco-friendly, and allowing customers to feel more responsible about their clothing choices. Recently fashion designers like Stella McCartney led a parade of vegan leather shoes that were not only unique in design but had a successful launch. The idea of selling vegan leather shoes almost seems like an oxymoron, but fashionistas were drawn to the new concept from a reputable fashion house like Stella McCartney.
In an interview with Imran Ahmed of Business of Fashion, Stella McCartney noted their decision to go in the other direction once the connection between killing animals and the climate crisis was established. Sustainability in now embedded within the company’s mission and polices. Instead of leaning towards leathers, McCartney is creating her own fabrics that look like leather but bypass the harmful manufacturing processes.
H&M just released its Conscious Exclusive Collection with pieces made from recyclable materials. The most notable piece is an evening gown made out of a fabric called Bionic. V Magazine reported that the clothing and accessories in this collection by H&M are all made of Bionic, a fluid fabric comprised of recycled shoreline plastics. H&M is a leader of the green movement in fashion with 20% of its products being made from sustainable fabrics organic cotton and now, Bionic.
The future of fashion design is full of green life and environmental focus. With pillar fashion designers like Gucci, Stella McCartney and H&M leading the way, many will likely conform.
Circles Make the World Go "Round
Circles make the world go ‘round and this includes the fashion design world. From the birth of the idea, to the first sample, fashion design is a cyclic process that keeps going every season. As fashion designers aim to be more green and incorporate eco-friendly methods in the manufacturing of their pieces, the circle may become larger or smaller. More steps may be involved to keep our world safe or less steps may be taken because of the removal of processes that potentially damage the earth.
The current cyclic fashion design process will have to be adjusted to consider the long term. With the presence of fast fashion, indie designers and smaller labels, there are more options to meet the demands of environmentally conscious consumer. If fashion designers do not consider the environmentally conscious consumer, they may lose them. Consumers have become more aware, therefore applying pressure on fashion designers to consider the implications of their manufacturing and sourcing on the environment.
Fashion Will Be Consumed
If we consume fashion too fast, the more detrimental it will be to our environment. When you enjoy a tasty donut, it tastes great for the moment but there are negative effects on our bodies if repeated daily. Who What Wear reported that in 2015, American’s spent $51.5 billion on clothing, shoes, handbags and makeup. Imagine how much pairs of jeans and sneakers were purchased to only be discarded as new styles are released. Newsweek predicts that in just 20 years, the amount of clothing American’s discard has doubled from 7 million to 14 million. When clothing is sent to a landfill, it is not just wasted material it is wasted resources from the earth that had to create it in the first place.
Closed-loop sourcing is the solution. This maybe the next step. Reuse materials to create new fibres as suggested by Mare-Claire Daveu as quoted by The Washington Post . “The holy grail for sustainability in fashion is closed-loop sourcing,” Marie-Claire Daveu of the global luxury holding company Kering (Kering owns companies like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney, among many others.) “Reuse old materials. Make new materials out of old materials. Recapture the fibers.”
Steps are being taken by the fashion design industry to make the process more green but who will be the boss?
Something is Missing
Even in the cyclic process of fashion design, there is a missing piece. In a donut the missing piece is a hole, but within the future of fashion design, the missing piece is the governing bodies that will deem fashion design processes green. Who will decide if brands are going in the right direction and doing the right thing when it comes to environmental sustainability? Who will be given governing power to deem items environmentally safe? Will it be private companies, new collectives or the current entities that currently govern environmentally safe products?
Yes, there will need to be regulation of green fashion design, but we would still want to encourage creativity. Will regulation limit the creativity of brands and designers or will it force them to think outside of the foundations of fashion design?
With the current cyclic pattern of fashion design and the rate of fashion consumption, the future of fashion design will continue to prosper, but will our environment? The movement of the fashion design industry towards greener processes can only be successful with regulation. Regulation may not happen overnight but it has to be considered to ensure that fashion designers are being honest with consumers. Positive discussions will lead to the future of fashion design being greener and more eco-friendly. In the meantime, grab a donut.
- Aquila Farrell