The Environmental Challenge
The fashion and textile industries are one of the most significant contributors to global pollution, economic imbalance for overseas garment workers, as the entire process of creating garments are hidden from the consumer. Fashion markets a fictitious lifestyle that consumers buy without knowing the full impact. There is a greater need for corporate transparency and consumer education on fashion's adverse effects.
The Brand Design Challenge
The topic of toxic masculinity and its adverse effect on the environment has seen prominence in various studies and media. "It's not that men don't care about the environment. They want to feel macho, and worry that eco-friendly behaviors might brand them as feminine," it states in Scientific American. Most of the eco-friendly brands existing in the marketplace, designed to attract the female audience, with very few that is "manly."
The real challenge here is finding the balance in the design system that can apply to men's and women's products without alienating men from purchasing.
Results: Upcycled Graphic Shirt
According to the EPA, 17 million tons of textiles were discarded by Americans in 2017. Companies like helpsy.co recover clothing that are in good condition, keeping them from entering the landfills. The cotton sweatshirt pictured above is a prototype designed using upcycled clothing to give a second life to textile waste. Upcycling reduces waste and stress on our natural resources, as 2700 liters of water are needed to grow enough cotton to make one t-shirt! Not to mention the energy required to process, dye, manufacture, and shipping!
Results: Zero Waste Bags
In most factories, textile waste accounts for 15-20% this happens before the production of garments. Almost all garments and accessories consist of curves and oddly shaped pieces to achieve proper fitting onto the human body. To reduce waste at the production stage, I designed made to order bags with minimal curves and created a manual sorting process to separate textile and paper waste to recycling. In NYC, Fabscrap collects textile scraps from fashion companies around the city, volunteers at their Queens facility separate items to resell or recycle.
Mass production of unsold garments often becomes waste, with many unsold products being burned or discarded in landfills. Low-quality fast fashion products last only a few washes, creating more waste while straining our natural resources and labor force. This problem compounded by their increasing number of fashion seasons, traditionally, fashion has two seasons, but companies like Zara increased delivery with new merchandise every few weeks.