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Sustainable Fashion: a re-conceptualization of the role of fashion design

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Design thinking is increasingly considered as a valued strategy for innovation
and the development of solutions for sustainability. Consequently, the role of
the designer as a problem solver has evolved along with the emergence of
design management within academic discourse. The adoption of a systems
thinking perspective is increasingly recognized as a key strategy for
sustainable development. However, fashion designers rarely identify
themselves within the role of problem solver nor do they design for
sustainability or with a systemic perspective. This paper looks to
conceptualize the emerging role of fashion design in driving innovative
solutions for sustainability. The paper draws upon ideas and developments
from design-driven innovation, user-centred design and corporate sports
giant Nike in formulizing a re-conception of design. Design-driven innovation
pushes for new product meanings and languages while user-centred design
focuses on the application of design through a better understanding of the
user and their needs. Nike is explored for their innovative development of the
Nike+ platform, a service that expands the consumer experience, thereby
increasing brand and potentially product value. Products developed in
tangent to the Nike+ platform have highlighted the ability to induce
behaviour changes in regards to physical activity. This phenomenon warrants
investigation as to the applicability to consumption behaviours and patterns
within the fashion system. This highlights the importance of the evolving
multi-disciplinary role of the fashion designer for a sustainable fashion system


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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