The environmental challenge
The fashion and textiles industries are one of the most significant contributors to global pollution, economic imbalanced for overseas garment workers, as the entire process of creating garments usually 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 effect.
The brand design challenge
The topic of toxic masculinity and its adverse effect on the environment has seen prominence in the various studies and media. "It's not that men don't care about the environment. But they also tend to want to feel macho, and they worry that eco-friendly behaviors might brand them as feminine," it is stated in Scientific American. The same study reveals that men find it to be more difficult than women to choose between masculine and feminine versions of everyday food and household items, and will usually alter their preferences to be more manly when allowed time to ponder over their options. Most of the eco-friendly brands existing in the marketplace are designed to attract the female audience, with very few that is "manly."
The results inspired my brand design direction, with a goal to create a design language that will appeal to both genders. Influenced by streetwear and graffiti symbolisms representing the life cycle of organic matter in which waste becomes food. The natural life cycle is the foundation of the Circular Economy.
The real challenge here is finding the balance in the design system that can apply to men's and women's products that won't deter men from purchasing.
Results #1: Zero waste bags
In most factories, textiles waste accounts for 10 - 30% as this happens during the preparation of fabrics for construction. Almost all garments and accessories consist of curves and odd shaped pieces to achieve proper fitting onto the human body. To reduce waste at the production stage, I designed the bags with fewer curves and created a manual sorting process to separate textile and paper waste that could recycle. In NYC, Fabscraps collects textile waste from fashion companies around the city, volunteers at their Queens facility separate items into resell-able, and small scraps get recycled into building materials.
Mass production of unsold garments often becomes waste, as retailers discard them 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 seasons clothing is released, traditionally fashion has four seasons, but companies like Zara increased delivery with new merchandise every few weeks has dire consequences for the environment.
Result #2: Muse Bags
Growing crops such as Cotton has dire effects on communities, environment, and wildlife. Heavy use of toxic pesticides is required to grow cotton crops, and the runoffs pollute the water system and damage soil causing health risks for workers and surrounding wildlife. Processing and dyeing of textiles have similar effects on the water system.
Emma Watson was the inspiration behind the Muse Bags, during her Beauty and the Beast Press tour, she only wore outfits made by sustainable designers shared on her Instagram account.
The Muse bags shaped like different types of mollusks ranging from clams, pearls, and mussels. Mollusks serve as tiny water filtration systems, continually sieving the water around them in their hunt for a meal of bacteria or microscopic algae known as phytoplankton. As they filter water, the bivalves' tissues absorb some of the chemicals and pathogens that are present - things like herbicides, pharmaceuticals and flame retardants. Within 72 hours, the bivalves can remove up to 80 percent of some of the contaminants from the water.
I wanted to create fun, trendy fashion products that serve to educate consumers positively. Fashion is known for its superficiality, by combining the best of both worlds, knowledge, and style, I hope to achieve a greater reach to educate consumers about environmental issues.
According to researchers at Stanford University in California.
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