‘Design for Longevity’ has been created to empower clothing designers to produce clothes more sustainably

‘Design for Longevity’ has been created to empower clothing designers to produce clothes more sustainably

A European Union-funded free online resource has launched today (2 October) to help fashion designers and product developers make the most sustainable choices and drive industry action on sustainability.

Developed by the Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI), and produced as part of the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) – the first EU-Life funded project to drive sustainability throughout the entire clothing lifecycle – 'Design for Longevity' has been created to assist the decision-making process during design, as well as cut waste and extend the life of clothes.

The platform has been produced in association with leading European fashion councils and universities, and in consultation with practitioners from across the sector. It is an evolving online resource containing the most relevant information, inspiration, practical tools, and guidance on sustainable design.

The idea is that it will help designers implement changes into their own operations quickly and effectively; whether working in large companies or as solo operators, and across all clothing categories.

Key trends featured in the new tool include new possibilities in design and manufacture; innovative business models; choices around fibre and fabric; craftsmanship; options for re-use and recycling; care and repair; and how and why consumers dispose of clothing.

"The role of designers is changing, as is the scope of design itself, which has shifted from simply creating 'great clothes' to finding solutions for a new fashion system," explains Tobias Harboe, project manager at DAFI. "This is a big shift that requires new skills and learning, which is exactly what Design for Longevity provides."

Harboe says the new tool offers a catalogue of ideas, suitable for all types of brands, as well as providing support.

"DAFI has worked with key institutions and experts on sustainable design across Europe to produce the materials that designers need, and the tools they can use. We're continuing to work with a wide range of brands, retailers and issue-driven organisations, as well as research institutions, to make this an evolving platform that is a conduit for new research and design."

When it comes to the sourcing of raw materials in particular, brands including C&A, H&M, and Marks & Spencer are leading the way when it comes to delivering on cotton sustainability. Yet research published today (2 October) has found that big brand progress on responsible sourcing is insufficient.

In assessing the performance of 75 of the largest cotton-using companies, the research found 44 companies, including Ascena Retail Group, HanesBrands, Under Armour, Next Plc, and Ralph Lauren scored less than 5 points.

Big brand progress on cotton sustainability is insufficient