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Bringing together Design and LCA

How can we build a conversation with environmental science to inform our creative process?

Designers and environmental scientists could offer unique insight if working as a combined force. Kate Goldsworthy worked with researchers from the Mistra Future Fashion project to blend both scientific and creative approaches into a single model.

In this project design researchers and environmental (LCA) researchers, in the ongoing Mistra Future Fashion programme (2011-2019), worked together to overcome the disciplinary barriers for collaboration. By designing a pilot project to identify and merge disciplinary processes the aim is to build a bridge between disciplines.

Experiences in the first phase of the programme (2011-2015) showed that practical integration of the work of designers and environmental assessors was an interesting challenge. For need for designers to be empowered by creative flexibility during the design project hampers the LCA analyst’s desire to be as clear about the goal and scope of the LCA at the outset as possible. These different needs and desires lead to different vocabularies for expressing garment sustainability among designers and environmental assessors.

This combined model generated and presented in the paper Towards a Quantified Design Process: bridging design and life cycle assessment, is a proposition for integrating the design and environmental science process. It was put to the test in practice through the development of concepts and prototypes featured in Disrupting Patterns (2018).

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