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A Mixed-Method Study of Design Practices and Designers’ Roles in Sustainable-Minded Clothing Companies

Department of Design, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
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Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4680; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114680
Received: 19 April 2020 / Revised: 2 June 2020 / Accepted: 4 June 2020 / Published: 8 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Brands)
The way in which the current fashion industry operates needs to fundamentally change. In this endeavour, designers are considered central figures throughout the sustainable fashion literature. However, too little is known about clothing designers’ practical contributions to sustainability. Therefore, this study investigates how sustainability is integrated into design practices in sustainable-minded clothing companies and determines the role of clothing designers in this respect. A mixed-method study was conducted based on a sequential exploratory strategy. The data were collected in two stages: a preliminary phase based on five expert interviews and a survey phase, which involved 31 clothing designers from around Europe. The data analysis was also divided into two phases: thematic analysis of the interviews and content analysis of the survey. The findings indicate that the sustainable design practices within these companies predominantly focus on material choices and aspects that support product longevity. Yet, there is little empirical evidence to support claims regarding garments’ true longevity. Knowledge regarding materials, recycling and best practices is also lacking among clothing designers. Lack of knowledge and company strategies frequently dictate and restrict the design work. This further highlights the fact that designers’ opportunities to influence environmental and social change are more limited than earlier literature suggests. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; sustainable design; sustainable fashion; clothing design; fashion design; design practice; mixed-method sustainability; sustainable design; sustainable fashion; clothing design; fashion design; design practice; mixed-method
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MDPI and ACS Style

Karell, E.; Niinimäki, K. A Mixed-Method Study of Design Practices and Designers’ Roles in Sustainable-Minded Clothing Companies. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4680. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114680

AMA Style

Karell E, Niinimäki K. A Mixed-Method Study of Design Practices and Designers’ Roles in Sustainable-Minded Clothing Companies. Sustainability. 2020; 12(11):4680. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114680

Chicago/Turabian Style

Karell, Essi, and Kirsi Niinimäki. 2020. "A Mixed-Method Study of Design Practices and Designers’ Roles in Sustainable-Minded Clothing Companies" Sustainability 12, no. 11: 4680. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114680

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