Rural Chiasma 2015 – Circular By Design

18 - 20 March 2015

Image © Jennifer Heilbronn, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design

£20k Innovation Event – ‘Circular by Design’ – Developing new models to support alternative fashion & textile systems

Chiasma Date: 4pm, Wednesday 18th March – 5pm, Friday 20th March

Location/Accommodation: Dalmahoy Marriot Hotel and Country Club, Kirknewton, Edinburgh EH27 8EB

Cost: 2.5 days committed engagement (food and accommodation provided, and reasonable travel expenses reimbursed).

Closing Date for Applications: 5pm, Friday 20th February

‘Circular by Design’: realising the opportunity for the textiles sector

We live in a ‘throwaway and replace’ culture, our growing population and demand for new products has placed huge pressures on our planet’s resources. As a result industries such as textiles e.g. fashion, apparel, interiors and manufacturing, are experiencing raw material shortages and resource price increases. It has also been identified that 80% of what we use is used once, then thrown away, and 90% of a product’s environmental impact is committed at the design concept development stage. This, together with significant challenges to the environment, our economy and health means we cannot continue to design in a linear process and we need to consider radical solutions to these issues.

Whilst some consumers and companies understand the term ‘circular economy’ they might be less familiar as to how this can be applied. The circular economy (dubbed the great innovation challenge) suggests that we could change our way of designing, building in efficiency and resources for the future and apply these innovations at concept stage, pre-consumer. One way of thinking about this is mimicking the natural world and adopted living systems and thinking, the question is how can we do this through the practice of textile design?

In Scotland the unique and world-renowned luxury fashion and textiles market is ready for change. The sector is big business, generating 9,500 jobs and a turnover of £756 million each year (Scottish Government, 2013) and exports to more than 150 countries worldwide. It also has a vibrant future – underpinned by the quality, diversity, innovation and design of Scottish textiles in engineering and technology.

This event will bring together stakeholders to inform and equip the Scottish Textiles sector with the skills, and resources to realise opportunities for a circular economy. For information on our confirmed speakers, please click here.

Given the breadth of the challenge and potential applications, this Chiasma will unpack a range of issue, exploring areas that offer opportunities such as:

Smart Innovation – as new textile futures and data rich systems are becoming a reality we need a technologically integrated approach e.g. wearables, internet of things (IoT) and biomimicry are developing alongside the use of open data platforms e.g. tracking waste management, climate change, pollution and decision making. There is also potential to harness demand driven services and develop new push and pull transactions.

Material Efficiency – proactive approaches for maximising both natural and synthetic material efficiency through new manufacturing techniques are emerging. It has also become possible to break down and reuse existing materials to develop new smart textile fibres and finishes. This can enable effective; life cycle analysis; textile fibre recycling; waste stream management within production; supply chain effectiveness. This might involve identifying opportunities for cyclability within existing Scottish supply chains such as; closed loop production, piloting new technologies to support design for disassembly and manufacture or zero waste pattern cutting.

Collaborative Consumption – strategic design innovation can be applied to raise awareness by steering our values away from a throwaway and disposable material culture towards a more ‘custodial’ use of things. Changing attitudes in consumer behaviour mean new business and economic models are beginning to emerge around products for life, take back services, incentives, organisation and information systems to support resource efficiency future.

Making it Meaningful – Alternative fashion and textile systems are emerging in response to globalisation, economic recession, and generational shifts that are bringing a new perspective to textiles. There is a growing appreciation of value, provenance, quality and durability and new opportunities supported by advances in new social and disruptive technology to support this.

Design in Action has allocated up to £20,000 (per idea) and a range of support services to prototype ideas arising from the Chiasma process. See the ‘Business Opportunity’ section of the Call for Participants/Terms of Engagement document for more details.

You can view photographs from this Chiasma here. All photographs by Lindsay Perth, Lippi Photography: –

This Chiasma is now closed. If you have any questions related to this Chiasma, please contact us.