Title: Sustainable clothing design: use matters

Authors: Kirsi Laitala; Casper Boks

Addresses: National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO), P.O. Box 4682 Nydalen, N-0405 Oslo, Norway; Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), N-7491 Trondheim, Norway ' Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), N-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Abstract: Many life cycle assessment studies document that the use period is the most resource-demanding phase during the clothing life cycle. In this paper, we discuss how design can help to reduce the environmental impacts of clothing. Motives behind clothing disposal, acquisition practices and maintenance habits are analysed based on two surveys, qualitative interviews of households, and examination of disposed clothing. The main reasons for clothing disposal were changes in garments, followed by size and fit issues, taste-related unsuitability, situational reasons, functional shortcomings and fashion or style changes. Several design solutions can enable the users to keep and use the clothes longer, and reduce the need for laundering, thus potentially decreasing the total environmental effects of clothing consumption.

Keywords: clothing use; textiles; sustainable design; eco-design; durability; clothing maintenance; mending; design for sustainable behaviour; laundering; clothing consumption; consumer research; sustainable clothing design; sustainable garment design; sustainable apparel design; environmental impact; sustainable development; clothing disposal; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2012.046142

Journal of Design Research, 2012 Vol.10 No.1/2, pp.121 - 139

Available online: 29 Mar 2012 *

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