Sustainability is a topic on my mind, intertwined with a current project and coincidentally what July’s CreativeMornings/Berlin talk was about. Kristen Nuttall specifically spoke about fast fashion and how what we buy affects the environment. I liked her take on it because it appeared to be very objective, explaining that no matter how or what we consume, we are making a footprint. Of course some footprints are more ethical than others, but ethics are tricky and often depend on an individual’s personal beliefs.
I’m the last person to lecture anyone on being strictly zero waste / vegan / slow fashion / designing with 100% sustainable materials—because I am FAR from perfect in all of these areas. One of the biggest mistakes we can make however is doing nothing because we can only do a little. It’s kind of crazy how much you can decrease your environmental footprint with a few tiny changes.
As designers we have a responsibility to consider the impact our work has on the world. For example I love gorgeously branded coffee cups but only 1 in 400 are recycled! We (definitely speaking to myself here) need to be more aware and conscious in order to advise our clients on best practices and alternatives. A few resources to get you (us) started:
A directory of brands and makers working in ethical and sustainable ways around our globe.
An online resource by Lauren Singer, who lives a zero waste life and famously fit four years of her trash in a mason jar.
Reusable coffee cups to address the statistic I mentioned earlier. I don’t own one myself but have stopped buying take-away coffee altogether, and only sipping-in or at home. I did notice they offer custom branding! Potential option for your next cafe design? Side note: could see #handfulloflandfill taking off.
Speaking of cups, an eco-friendly alternative to tampons and other disposable sanitary products is the Diva Cup. There are so many different brands of these now and if you can get past all the horrible gender-norm branding, they are worth switching to (even despite the eco-friendly aspect!).
Stumbled across this fashion label and am obsessed with the designs and colourful patterns! Huge bonus that the collection of clothing, accessories and home wares are ethically made in Malawi, fusing together contemporary design with traditional African techniques. This, this and this halloooo.
And special note for the Australians out there... Kai Brach created this handy list of ways you can become more politically active by moving your dollars away from banks/organisations that support unethical behaviour.
The main point of Kristen’s talk however was that even if we buy extremely “ethically”, it still doesn’t make something sustainable. We over-consume in general without questioning where something has come from, or where it will end up once we are finished with it. If we are going to preserve our planet we all need to start with ourselves and become more conscious consumers.
Do you have more links I can add to this list? Let me know! Reply to this email or shoot me a tweet.