Fostering Sustainable Fashion Innovation: Insights from Ideation Tool Development and Co-Creation Workshops
2. Literature Review
2.1. The Design Process in the Fashion Industry
2.2. The Provision of Sustainability Information as MCS
2.3. Design for Sustainable Fashion Innovation
2.4. Sustainable Fashion Bridges
2.4.1. Toolkit Vision and Structure
2.4.2. Toolkit Content
3. Research Methods
3.1. Design Thinking and Co-Design Workshop
3.2. Data Collection and Analysis
3.3. Interview-Based Evaluation
4.1. Evaluation of the Toolkit and Workshop Process
“The mind mapping process helps narrow down the specific problems through writing down the keyword. It allows the identification of the key solution to work on a new concept logically. It really helps to bring out lots of ideas from the ideation cards and write down a core solution through the mapping system. It identifies key elements and looks at the co-relation of each idea, which triggers innovation and helps us to bounce ideas off each other”(W2)
4.2. Interview-Based Evaluation
“A lot of companies and organisations need to take knowledge from the design sphere. For the design consultancy, a more multi-disciplinary team including designers, pattern makers, technologists, buyers, merchandisers, marketers, and managers sitting down and developing strong design strategies would be very valuable. They often need to develop a better understanding of where they are going and what the real future concerns are”.(P11)
“I think it is thought-provoking, especially if you are in a brand or if a lot of brands need to reposition the way their internal business strategy is, for it to be sustainable. If they chose to start it small, they wouldn’t need to go through every single option. Even when they look at one set of cards, they can positively impact future environments. There is so much pressure on brands everywhere to be more sustainable, to change the way that their business works. A lot of people have no idea where to start, but this makes it really simple, so you can just pick a card or flip through trying to find ways to adjust your business to be more sustainable”(P4)
4.3. Suggested Improvements and Other Aspirations for Tool Usage
5.1. Roles of MCSs in Sustainable Fashion Innovation
5.2. Sustainability Skills and Sustainable Fashion Education
5.3. Using Design Thinking and Co-Creation for Sustainable Innovation
- Sustainability beginners with low levels of sustainability skills and no design experience or design implication skills.
- Sustainability analysts with high levels of knowledge and skills in sustainable fashion, but no design experience or design implication skills.
- Fashion products–service systems (PSS) designers with low levels of knowledge and sustainability skills, but high levels of experience in design implementation.
- Sustainable fashion innovation specialists with high levels of sustainability skills, and engagement in sustainable fashion and design implementation.
- The beginner level for co-creators: Those who have little or no experience participating in design implementation activities and who have a low level of knowledge and skills in sustainable fashion. This group can share their experiences with barriers to pro-environmental actions and their perceptions and experiences of sustainable fashion products and services from a consumer perspective. General consumer groups can offer valuable insights during the discovery stage of the DT process by sharing their product and service experiences, issues, and their needs for sustainable fashion. A number of possible issues could be explored using divergent thinking at the beginning of the design process by looking at the issues related to sustainability in fashion production and consumption and consumers’ behaviours with the fashion products and service interactions.
- High sustainability skills and low design implementation: In this group, participants may have a good ability to engage in pro-environmental behaviours and have good knowledge of sustainable fashion, but not much experience with design practices. Participants can define the key issues of sustainability as they relate to fashion. Convergent thinking can be used to narrow down and define key problems by identifying themes and finding connections and relationships with the issue. In this stage, co-design participants can explore design implementation possibilities to tackle the identified problem.
- Low sustainability skills and high design implementation: People in this group generally have low levels of knowledge of and engagement with sustainable fashion, but high levels of experience in design implementation. Some fashion design participants expressed that they would have preferred to move directly on to the next step in the fashion design process, with a hands-on experience of garments to assist in the generation of solutions. The making and crafting process is a pivotal aspect of fashion design implementation. Reflecting the consequences and environmental and social issues of the fashion production process, co-designers could implement better design solutions by addressing environmental and social impacts throughout the clothing life cycle.
- High sustainability skills and high design implementors: Participants described in the top right quadrant are fully conversant in both sustainability issues. They also have the ability to implement the conceptual sustainability ideas of design practices in real-world contexts. Designers can share their knowledge and skills with users by actively involving rapid prototyping and micro-production services.
5.4. Future Directions for the Sustainable Fashion Innovation Tool
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Open-Ended Questions: Choice, Optimisation, and Social Conversation Patterns
Appendix B. Open-Ended Questions: Empowerment, Persuasion, and Interaction Patterns
Appendix C. A Summary of Participants’ Perspectives on Each Card Pattern
Appendix D. Workshops: Idea Evaluation and Critical Reflection
Appendix E. Examples of User-Generated Concepts from Workshops
|Target market||Babies and parents||Online and offline shoppers|
|Identified issues and needs||Babies grow very quickly and their parents need to buy new garments too often||Lack of personalisation and personal experience in conventional shopping stories|
|Suggested design solutions||New product design and product–service systems (PSS) for babies. To solve this problem, after participants selected the alternative material and modularity cards, they suggested designs for baby clothing by observing users’ behaviours. The garments can be detached or separated for different purposes and, because they used stretch fabric, when a baby grows, the garment grows with them. PSS allows parents to share and buy second-hand children’s products instead of buying new ones that require only short-term use.||Retail shops can cater to individual users’ needs by changing the ways users’ shop, providing alternative, higher quality, and smart fabric selections. Incorporating the idea of smart DIY fashion, consumers could buy fabrics and colour swatches with video instructions. The consumer could then design and produce the garment at home, emphasising self-sufficiency and effective communication with consumers. The manufacturing process would need to be more transparent; fashion companies sell various services, including knowledge, ideas, and production qualities. Production and consumption processes would be continually improved based on an effective consumer feedback loop.|
|Target market||Local communities||Local communities|
|Identified issues and needs||Lack of accessibility of personalised design in local community||Lack of local clothing-sharing services and communities|
|Suggested design solutions||This group considered that the way to achieve sustainable fashion is through good quality design. Participants selected the ‘tailoring’, ‘user as a maker’, and ‘shareholder incentive’ cards. Participants suggested a community project that collaborates between a tailor/designer and a local or supermarket retailer by bringing expertise to an assessable level. A tailor/designer-run workshop for the local community would foster more personalised styles and looks using high-quality and sustainable materials.||An online platform for a global swap and share service with local communities. The clothing library can be activated from community to community and sell the intangible value of the services. Furthermore, various users can wear versatile, one-size clothing without size limitations.|
|Target market||Consumers who are concerned about wellness and sustainability||Future bicyclists|
|Identified issues and needs||Lack of function in clothing (safety, comfort, utility) and consumers’ emotional and behavioural interactions with products||Lack of flexibility, comfort, and safety elements in clothing for night-time bicyclists|
|Suggested design solutions||Garments can offer protection from pollution and react to the climate, such as wind, sun, and rain. Adaptable, UV-resistant, waterproof, breathable fabric has reacting fibres that can expand and contract responding to the temperature and weather. The clothing also reacts depending on the wearer’s movement and temperature and how they are breathing. Garments can react to different senses (smell, sound, touch). When people are hugging, the garments can interact with the wearers to enhance a couple’s relationship.||To encourage safe motorcycle or bicycle riding, the back of the LED jacket gives an indication of the wearer’s level of cycling skills, handle movement, and speed. Incorporating the idea of design modularity and the use of zippers or Velcro, clothing can be changed; the look and length of the garment and its sections can be removed, depending on the user’s activities and temperature. The design components can be interchanged with other functions and adjusted to different sizes. The fashion company could sell sections of the modular components and provide sponsorships for safe riders.|
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|Workshop No.||Participant Information|
|1||A co-design workshop with 5 participants of mixed backgrounds|
|2||A workshop with 17 fashion design (FD) students in the UK|
|3||A workshop with 18 FD students in the UK|
|4||A workshop with 17 design master’s students in the UK|
|5||A workshop with 28 fashion enterprise (FE) master’s students in the UK|
|6||A workshop with 27 fashion marketing (FM) students in the UK|
|7||A workshop with 25 FM students in the UK|
|8||A workshop with 10 fashion-related business start-up entrepreneurs and students in Seoul, Republic of Korea|
|Person (P) 1||Head of CSR and sustainability from the outdoor sector|
|P2||Creative director from a fashion textiles, homes, and jewellery brand|
|P3||Senior marketer (senior account executive) from a fashion public relations and branding agency|
|P4||Marketer (social media executive) from a public relations firm|
|P5||Marketer from a luxury fashion brand|
|P6||Fashion designer from a business-to-business consultancy|
|P7||Fashion design lecturer from a university|
|P8||Fashion marketing lecturer with several years’ industry experience of running fashion companies|
|P9||Sustainable design lecturer|
|P10||Fashion designer from a men’s clothing accessories company|
|P11||Fashion management lecturer with several years’ experience as a fashion buyer|
|P12||Design management lecturer|
enabling development of critical thinking by offering problem-solving mechanisms regarding environmental and social issues in the overall clothing lifecycle
|System thinking: |
helping understand the impacts of holistic system–thinking and how each action can influence the rest of the supply chain
|Creativity and innovation: |
facilitating discussion of sustainability issues in fashion PSS design and triggering thought of what potential or alternative practices could exist for the future
|Collaboration skills: |
supporting the creation of dialogue and communication of shared understanding within a group of people during the co-design workshop.
|Providing clear benefits: outlining the values of addressing sustainability in the fashion industry|
|Effective instructions: clear directional guidance on toolkit usage without a facilitator’s support|
|Personalisation and interactive tool: triggering actions for future sustainable design practices tailored to various user situations|
|Stimulating inspirations: visual content that inspires users to stimulate their imagination and encourage further discussion|
|Easily accessible digital tool: (e.g., a digital app or an interactive web platform) that could be more effectively employed to help individuals or teams to generate ideas.|
|Offering a reflective tool that enables an evaluation of toolkit users’ end outcomes for sustainable fashion practices|
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Hur, E.; Beverley, K. Fostering Sustainable Fashion Innovation: Insights from Ideation Tool Development and Co-Creation Workshops. Sustainability 2023, 15, 15499. https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115499
Hur E, Beverley K. Fostering Sustainable Fashion Innovation: Insights from Ideation Tool Development and Co-Creation Workshops. Sustainability. 2023; 15(21):15499. https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115499Chicago/Turabian Style
Hur, Eunsuk, and Katie Beverley. 2023. "Fostering Sustainable Fashion Innovation: Insights from Ideation Tool Development and Co-Creation Workshops" Sustainability 15, no. 21: 15499. https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115499