Imagine if our clothes lasted as long as the materials they were made from?
Becky Earley’s Service Shirt concept explores the multiple complexities, contingencies, challenges and opportunities associated with design for circular business models in extended use contexts.
The Service Shirt was designed as a ‘deliberate extreme’ to have a total lifecycle of 50 years. This lifecycle includes inhouse and external remanufacture processes, and various sharing cycles – often moving between single ownership and rental contexts. It becomes the lining for a jacket before being crafted in to fashion accessories, before finally being regenerated in the year 2068.
The shirt was created with the intention of exploring how designing for this context differs from linear design; to design using lifecycle assessment to guide decision-making; and to stimulate discussion around issues that emerge when companies attempt to make circular business models operable in the fashion industry. In the end the work went further than this – we asked, ‘who are the people and what are the places?’ that will make extended-life, circular fashion a reality? The insights we gained also enabled us to see the potential beyond the brand context: to garments that could flow between users, maker spaces and entrepreneurial ventures and charities – to new forms of more social and local fashion production, use and reinvention.