78 / INVESTIGATING
The Future Role of the Sustainable Fashion Designer Writer & Photographer Writer & Illustrator
/ Kristine Harper / Master of Arts in Philosophy and Art History / Sofie Edvard / Master’s Degree in Fashion Design
The fulcrum of this article is the role of the future fashion
designer. How can the fashion designer reclaim her/his position in the fashion industry and start focusing on the importance of the thorough design process? Which skills will the future fashion designer need? Perhaps the future design process will include selecting relevant materials, craft methods and techniques in order to innovate and create new products - or upcycling of existing garments?
RECLAIMING THE VALUE OF CLOTHING Our Zeitgeist is influenced by slow design, mindfulness and the philosophy that “less is more”. There is a desire in our time to rediscover the value of the simple, thoroughly made, and sensuously stimulating product; whether this is bread, a table or a coat. But despite the general emerging consensus to slow down consumption and to cherish well-made, ethically produced products, we are facing the fact that the fashion industry continues unabated in pushing the consumption of fast fashion. This results in the fact that the price of a T-shirt in a supermarket is the same as organic eggs, and that buying a pair of socks is cheaper than buying bread. And there is a market for these products! The consequence thereof is a significant value-decrease in basic clothing, which is transferable to other garments due to the tendency of fast fashion to meet an artificially incited consumer need to constantly buy new clothes and discard old ones, or to even view shopping as a hobby. This sad tendency to over consume obviously has a huge effect on the environment - but it also affects the role of the designer and the way designers work. The design process is almost non-existent in the fast fashion industry; in order to keep up with the fast pace, research, experiments and thoroughness are removed from the design process in order to make room for imitation and trend-ruled changes from previous styles. This leads to homogenous, badly made clothes that leave no space for creativity and individual expression and imprint.