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Designing Fashion and Textiles for Circular Economy


Located at the Swedish Embassy, which was truly fascinating, Ambassador H.E Mr. Torbjorn Sohlstrom hosted a panel discussion with Sigrid Barnekow (Mistra Fashion Futures), Dr Kate Goldsworthy and Prof. Rebecca Earley (UAL), Elin Larssom (Flippa K) and Catarina Midby (sustainability H&M) to discuss sustainability and showcase designs from numerous designers.
Before starting the panel discussion guests in attendance where able to preview and discover what designers are doing to ensure sustainability and how the future of fashion could look if more were to contribute to a sustainable and ethical design approach.   Showcasing a pop up physical version of their online show and exhibition, The Textiles Toolbox, an exhibition of Swedisih fashion and textile design instructions from the future presented by UAL and Mistra Future Fashion, introduced 10 exhibits; Seamsdress, A.S.A.P (Paper Cloth), Shanghai Shirt, Inner/Outer Jacket, Denature, Redressing Activism, Sweaver, Fast Refashion, A Jumper To Lend, A Jumper To Mend and Smorgasboard.
“The future of the textile and fashin industry relies on designers creating new, compelling visions for the way in which products are created, used and disposed of.  Designers need to think radically about the materials that they are using and the form and purpose they are giving them.”
Asking 6 crucial questions; why, where, what, how, whose and when researchers have the ability to design and use the answers to create ‘The Ten’ framework.
“These are a few key questions that we ask ourselves as sustainable design researchers…they form the basis of any ted design brief.”
1 – Design to minimise waste
2 – Design for cyclability 
3 – Design to reduce chemical impact
4 – Design to reduce energy and water use 
5 – Design that the solo red cleaner-better technologies
6 – Design that takes models from nature and history
7 – Design for ethical protection
8 – Design to reduce the need to consume
9 – Design to dematerialise and develop systems and services
10 – Design activism 
Introducing the panelist, Ambassador H.E Mr. Torbjorn Sohlstrom led the panel discussion discussing how to design for a circular economoy, material longevity, product longevity, circular fashion and how a brand and designer can move towards being 100% circular.
Highlighting that ‘products are fleeting, online materials can last forever’ the group enlightened attendees how to move towards being 100% circular with Catarina Midby (sustainability manager, H&M) leading, stating that in order to move towards building and being a sustainable brand all stages of production needs to be incorporated.  From design to sourcing raw materials, fabric and yarn production, garment production, transport, sales and use in order to close the ‘loop’ consumers must ensure the longest possible use of their garments – whether this is by recycling the product into a new one via upcycling or by selling the garment on, consumers and brands can ensure product longevity. 
Circular fashion was addressed by Flippa K founder, Elin Larssom, who stated that we must reduce, repair, reuse and recycle fashion.
An extremely informative evening, FashionCapital would like to thank the Swedish Embassy for the invite.  Sustainable fashion is paramount.

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