Exploring Upcycling as a Design Process Through Fashion Education

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If we accept the premise that upcycling is a design process for a sustainable circular fashion industry, this chapter poses the question, ‘how can we evolve fashion education in response’? Upcycling is more than reworking used garments into new, higher value items. It points to a new design process, fit for a future where we live within planetary boundaries. Focusing on one syllabus within a newly established design university in the United Arab Emirates, this project offers an alternative starting point for educating fashion students and serves as a challenge to the existing approach to design education.

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Purpose – Studies on textile upcycling in Africa are rare, particularly in Liberia, where extensive upcycling designs are appreciated throughout the country. This study aims to contribute to the upcycling literature from the perspective of Liberia’s fashion upcyclers by assessing their coping strategies and understanding the challenges confronting fashion upcycling in Monrovia’s four largest markets. Design/methodology/approach – A fuzzy analytical hierarchy process and data envelopment analysis (DEA) models were used to assess labor input, delivery and flexibility, technological and innovation capability, financial capability, pricing of finished products, customer service and quality outputs of upcycled fashions. The fuzzy inference system model assessed upcyclers’ loaning eligibility. Findings – The results highlight that Liberia’s fashion upcycling is expanding with varying innovative designs. The quality of upcycled fashions was deemed most important in the proposed AHP model. However, many upcycling businesses lack sufficient capital to make long-term investments. With the necessary investment, the innovation of these upcyclers could be a new line of fashion brands with great potential. In addition, using a fair judgment in assessing the little loaning funds available is paramount to enhancing their growth. Research limitations/implications – Only 34 decision-making units were assessed. Future research could expand this scope using other models with more practical loaning strategies. Originality/value – This study presents a wealth of managerial and policy implications. The proposed hybrid model is adequate for developing managerial decisions for fashion upcyclers. The proposed framework can manage ambiguity, inaccuracy and the complexity of making decisions based on numerous criteria, making it applicable in unearthing robust strategies for enhancing the fashion upcycling sectors and other industries in developing countries. In addition, the proposed fuzzy Mamdani system could also be extended to other sectors, such as agriculture, for a more transparent allocation of resources.
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Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. We propose a new approach to global sustainability in which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems. We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO2 concentration in the atmosphere
In Designs for the Pluriverse Arturo Escobar presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design's world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Noting that most design—from consumer goods and digital technologies to built environments—currently serves capitalist ends, Escobar argues for the development of an “autonomous design” that eschews commercial and modernizing aims in favor of more collaborative and placed-based approaches. Such design attends to questions of environment, experience, and politics while focusing on the production of human experience based on the radical interdependence of all beings. Mapping autonomous design’s principles to the history of decolonial efforts of indigenous and Afro-descended people in Latin America, Escobar shows how refiguring current design practices could lead to the creation of more just and sustainable social orders.
Eileen Fisher Makes Strides Towards Circularity With 'Tiny Factory
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