Emma Smith; Sustainability Talk

Today we had a talk by Emma Smith who was a previous student in textiles and is now doing a masters. It was very inspiring as I was very familiar with her talk of sustainability within textiles and how consumers effect it as I am currently doing this for my dissertation.

My proposal is actually questioning consumerism in the way that ‘does it actually affect sustainability?’ or is it the textile industry? so her research linked closely with my own within constellation. I was very intrigued to listen to her and I knew what she was talking about which was a plus!

Within her talk she had mentioned ‘wrap’ which I briefly covered in the first term of Constellation, it is a great site to get statistics from and is a reliable source of information, I am so pleased I was reminded of this website! Her discussion was also about consumption vs compulsive consumption, which is a want instead of a need. We tend to want so many things that overpower our capacity to keep things that we end up throwing perfect products out.

The textile industry is a driving start to change the way we are, as there are a lot of innovating designers out there coming up with ideas and plans to make the world greener. Emma mentioned fast fashion, and how we aren’t satisfied with what we have and the worth and value of a clothing item when you can buy more turned out fast fashion.

There is also a type of obsolescence I hadn’t looked into before – Aesthetic.
This is the need for products and materialistic things to look new all of the time. Emma also mentioned ways we can help reduce the clutter and mentioned videos and checklists on how to capsule your wardrobe as well as ‘turn your hangers around’ which is something I do every year – you have the hanger the opposite way and if you haven’t worn it within the year it’s time to get rid of it. Either give to charity or sell online!

We also looked into ownership, and how people like to have possession of things. It was said that we enhance our clothing to keep it looking new, if there is a hole in our tshirts, etc, so we have the control over clothing to last longer.

I wrote something similar in my proposal, how people are buying ripped tights when essentially you can just rip an ordinary pair yourself. Emma spoke about ripped jeans, and how people don’t rip them themselves, they buy it as it is a trend and gives them a certain aesthetic to fit in with their lifestyle they may want to achieve within their look.

Also Anna had made a comment on how clothes that were unwanted seemed to have been of a certain colour, which was purple, that was donated to women in Africa. I found this interesting as I am also not a fan of the colour purple, I wouldn’t have it as a clothing item so I tend to always stay away from it.

It was very interesting and I was glad to have sat in and take these notes so I can keep thinking and be questioning sustainability in my own practice.



Evaluating My Dissertation Proposal

At first, I found this very difficult and had faced some minor issues. As I was writing my overview I found myself going over 500 words, as examples of the proposals weren’t available to us at this moment in time, as I was looking at the first example I found myself realising that my overview was way too long! I cut it down and then expanded on my background reading as this seemed to be the most important part of the proposal. This actually helped a lot as I was able to show more research and theories that can back my writing and understanding of consumer culture. I was enjoying exploring the background reading but had to keep it short and not get carried away. I found the research plan really difficult. It seemed similar to background reading, just in bullet points and splitting them into chapters. I found the issues for me were not wanting to write too much so again I kept it short and straight to the point as it is just the proposal. My bibliography is of theories and academic writings that can and already have influenced my studies within sustainability. Overall I am pleased with the structure of the proposal and I hope the excitement of this subject came through in my writing.

Punk & Sustainability

For my dissertation proposal, I decided to carry on with my previous essay with the same concept idea of consumerism.  it interests me the most and gets me wanting to write as it’s something I find fascinating – you don’t realize how much us humans affect the world with just our opinions and the way we are influenced. It was also a strong essay as my feedback was good and I wanted to write about something that was fresh in my mind, however, I didn’t want to write the exact same essay as it has already been done and would become paglerised otherwise.

During first year, I was in Teen Spirit with Cath Davies. I really enjoyed learning about the topic despite my terrible grade, due to me not knowing how to reference properly. I was most intrigued by the punk era as I enjoy the clothing and their motives. It is something that interests me now and I love seeing Vivienne Westwood collection of the revolution of punk. Visiting the V&A on Monday has only made me want to write about the punk street style and clothing. I am going to have it within a chapter in my essay to keep it interesting and something new on how sustainability has increased from the punk era until now and how the punks actually set a trend on upcycling and personalisation due to the painting on their Dr Martens, ripping and tearing clothes, using safety pins, different coloured laces etc. I will also expand on how they didn’t care about their appearance like we seem to do in today’s world in comparison to the 1970’s. Which is a huge impact on sustainability due to the consumption of products and the advertisement of the media.

I am going to brainstorm my ideas on a sheet to condense each point down to a different chapter within my proposal. I am excited that I have thought of a new and interesting way to combine consumer culture with sustainability using the punk era. Even if I am unable to find a lot of references that directly link to sustainability I can still use it as an additional source.

Recent inspiration from London

Dissertation research proposal

Artefact or 10,000 words? …This week has been so busy with the hectic production of the micro business I had almost forgot to research into topics for my dissertation proposal. I am very worried about this due to the fact I am not sure 10,000 words is something I can easily do as I find it difficult sometimes, however my feedback from last term has given me confidence to carry on with sustainability as I do enjoy learning and reading case studies about how today’s world affect sustainability and consumer culture. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures by Huw as sustainability is a genuinely interesting topic that is high demand topic in todays world with plenty of research and case studies that belong to it. However, I am thinking about the 6,000 analytical text with an artefact. I definitely need to have a tutorial before I decide any further on my decision of which path I want to take as I feel that making an artefact and explaining the processes would be beneficial for me as I would enjoy it and I do prefer to physically make something. After having a tutorial and discussion with my last term tutor, preferably soon, will then allow me to have a stronger opinion and decision of where I stand. I have so many questions as to what the artefact has to entail or if it is simply our choice, I could even have a project where I make a sustainable outcome for my dissertation. I can’t wait to finally know which one will be the best for me so I can start to gather in depth research from metsearch as my main source and then other articles from various substances to back my argument/statement.

‘Sustainable Lifetimes’ Word Journal PDP

My constellation study group was ‘Sustainable Lifetimes’ during this term. I have encountered very interesting debates, tasks and a different thinking processes on sustainability. Before having this as my study group, I didn’t think of the depth within sustainability and how there is much more to it than just ‘recycling’. I learnt a new way of thinking as each lecture was different and inspired you to question sustainability in the way in which people choose to live their life and how they could make an impact on the world by adapting their lifestyles and the way they perceive themselves.

I was introduced to the term ‘obsolescence’ which is the process of things becoming outdated and no longer used. I learnt about style, social, planned and technical obsolescence. This was intriguing for me as it links in with my practise. This study group showed the other side of textiles and fashion being unsustainable. Not only are the processes a huge impact on the world due to the amount of water used, and the labour within fast fashion to produce high-end clothing to replicate designer clothes within the mainstream retailing stores, along with off cuts from textiles which only go to land waste, but how the style and social obsolete have a massive impact due to the item of clothing no longer being in fashion or seen as desirable through the media. This is also to do with lifestyle, and it made me question ‘why do people care so much?’ about having the newest fashion and models of phones, as personally to me it does not matter as I am pleased with any product that works for me and the longer I have it the more it becomes personal to me.

Social and style obsolescence was most interesting as it linked with my practice. I encountered some debates with the class on how we could possibly overcome this and what results we would do to make textiles more sustainable. In an ideal world, I would definitely encourage people to give things to charity or even to their family or friends instead of throwing clothes out. I visited a place called ‘re-create’ which is a great idea on how to prevent textile waste going to landfills. They support the environmental issues and are great to source material from as a community centre. They are a very sustainable organisation, whatever you buy they add £1 on to your bill to keep the resource running, which I think is an excellent idea. I am lucky to have re-create right on my doorstep as I don’t live too far from it, so for my upcoming textiles project I will use re-create as my source for material instead of buying huge metres from companies online, which could potentially go to waste as I won’t need to use it all.

We also had a presentation task to choose a product that Huw collected from some skips and it was surprising to see what things people actually threw out, as we tested some of the products and they actually worked. There were also Dr Marten boots that were in perfect condition and you could clearly see they had no reason to be thrown out other than style obsolete. The insoles of the shoes had no wear and tear and would still be purposeful as Dr Martens are very good boots and are known to be strong as they used to be working boots. They also have a repair service and the leather they use for the insole prolongs the life as it adapts personally to the person and becomes comfier the longer you have the shoes. The person who threw them out clearly wanted a more trendy style of Dr Martens.

This study group has furthered my knowledge in the way in which I am more understanding of the social impacts towards sustainability. There was also a hoover in the skip that a group had tested and they presented back to us that the hoover was capable of doing its job but it just needed one element fixed to actually clean the carpet. This brings me to talk about modular elements within a product, and how designers are becoming more aware of their product breaking, so for example, if it was for a hoover, the company would be high-end with their pricing unrealistically affordable, but if the customer knew if one modular part of the product broke and was able to be fixed, maybe it would become desirable instead of customers paying out for cheaper hoovers which essentially can’t be fixed when broken.

I also learnt about emotional obsolescence and there is a book ‘emotionally durable design’ by Jonathon Chapman “as daily life continues to become more and more programmed…world increases exponentially’. (Chapman, pg 159) Which inspired me to think of programmed obsolescence. Where for example, companies also have a role on social obsolete where the capitalist idea and marketing possess people to want the newest goods. Phone companies as if you have a certain app on your phone, if it becomes updated and a newer version is available, it may not be compatible with older phones. I’ve experienced something similar with my iPhone 5 as the iOS is outdated I am no longer able to get certain apps. I found that this study group pushed your thoughts and made you see the psychological side of things and how companies may play a part in the world being unsustainable.

The thing which I wanted to do but didn’t get around to was going to the landfill in Wales. I wanted to go there and see first-hand what it’s like to see a horizon of unwanted things which affect our world today. I think to see this in person will make you think twice if you throw things out which have a longer life if you gave it to someone else or even charity. Overall, this study group has been pleasant and it has opened my eyes to the many factors of sustainability and the little things we can do within our lifestyles to change it and become more sustainable.

Thinking about the essay

This lecture we were focusing on the essay and our main question was ‘What to write about?’ I found this constellation module to be very interesting as I have not focused so  hard and intensely on sustainability before although I have touched on some elements to it. Although it has been difficult, Huw has made this module very fun and interactive with the rest of the class, as we had to do group work and presentations. in time for the essay I need to prepare and find as many relevant academic quotes as I can to back up my argument or statement. We also have a 1,000 learning journal entry, it is a reflective evaluation on the ideas, theories, how it might have linked in with our practice and what we have learnt looking back at our writing.


Consumer Culture
Influenced to not be sustainable
Kate Fletcher – Website
Textile waste
Obsolete social/environment/programme
How recycling happens within textiles, is it becoming more sustainable?
Natural Dye?

Extending Life

In today’s lecture we studied social obsolete, and how we throw stuff out due to aesthetic and the fashion trends.

Product life extension strategies: 

Reuse, repair & maintenance, reconditioning, re-manufacturing, recycling. 

Optimising the use value from products, components design for:
Repair & Maintenance
Modular – removable parts – materials
^ Designers know what will break first 

We looked into how products have limited benefits if consumer behavior remains unchanged. Meaning that the older generation products, for example, a toaster, it works exactly the same as a new generation one just perhaps the design and features look more modern, we are most likely to get rid of that for the new design product. Also programmed obsolescent which is a limitation on products for the benefit of consumer culture. Companies design their models of iPhones for example, to break, or use up more memory when a feature is updated on an app, to then get you to buy or re-think about having a new one. But the question I always think of is where do the unwanted phones go? Cause surely if there is nothing wrong with the old phone you are most likely to sell it. 


Jacobs Market

In the previous lecture, we talked about places we could go and visit that provides a sustainable service for us today. We listed the following:

  • Re-create
  • Charity shops
  • Jacob’s Market
  • Track 2000
  • Boot sales
  • City salvage

Out of these places I took an interest to re-create and Jacobs market the most. This is becaue I hadn’t been there much before and Jacobs market was a whole knew experience as I didn’t realise it was there as it is tucked away on a sidewalk towards Cardiff Bay.  I took some images and I will atatch the contact sheets below: 

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 18.27.15Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 18.27.25

It was interesting to see what people are selling and getting rid of in Jacobs market, as you can see from the image it is all vintage stuff. There were army patches, and police force patches, marilyn monroe head piece, taxidermy, and many other things that were outdated. It was like a huge jumble sale and most of the stuff was reasonably priced too so i bought some velvet ribbon to put in my dr marten boots for shoe laces! 

Sustainable Development

This weeks lecture we were talking about the development of sustainablity and big theories towards the design aspect. Then we had a reading task and product lifetime task. So looking into the development side of things, we were discussing on how to balance lifestyle and the ability to sustain and capacity to endure.  “Sustainable development is development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

The three pillars of  S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y 

  • Social,
  • Enonomic,
  • Environmental. 

Hierartch and priority list 
Economy (3) > Society (2) > Environment (1)

Image result for united nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development

Above you can see this diagram and how it is portraying 17 goals to transform our world. I find some of these interesting, because some of them are defininitely inevitable, such as good health being and well being as people are prone to being sick as they become older. But living a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle could prevent sickness perhaps. I found this on this website here: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51968#.Wh7et_ll_IU

Consumer Culture 

Consumer culture was something I dipped into in first year constellation. It was one of my faovourite things to learn about. It is a form of capitalism in which the economy is focused on the selling of consumer goods and the spending of consumer money. A significant part of consumer culture is an emphasis on lifestyle and using material goods to attain happiness and satisfaction. Businesses large and small can capitalize by focusing their marketing on this particular culture. They produce things to sell knowing that people want them, rather than need. There is such a huge focus on resources now that the importance has gone from the need of things to survive, to the importance of ownership. This links in to many different fields. We were told to re-frame questions, so for example, “I dont need a new hoover, I need a clean carpet” by thinking of this we then focus on the actual purpose of the product (hoover) instead of consuming a newer model as part of social obselete. The thing is if we design stuff that can be repaired then social obselete will no longer be applicable as the item can be repaired if one element of it no longer works. 

Dr marten

Dr Martens actually provide a service where they repair any part of your boots that have worn away. You just have to activate your code from the recipet and let them know the date you bought them. Their service is called ‘FOR LIFE’ and they tell you about the service on their website and the after care to make sure you won’t be needing a repair any time soon. The history behind them also helps the durability of these boots as they were working shoes. So they are designed for a lifetime. The insole and inner core are made of durable materials. 

Dr Marten 2.jpg

Sustainable Lifetimes

The evolution of the sustainable design debate from fast and slow consumption. 

This was my first day of constellation with Huw, looking into sustainability and how we can make our lives more sustainable. During this session, the textiles of the study group joined together and we asked ‘How can textiles be made more sustainable?’ and here are a few things we came up with: 

  • Dying process
  • fabric waste
  • Reduce water use
  • Off cuts to be used for upcycling
  • Energy
  • Zero waste policy
  • Use more materials that can be recycled
  • Take clothing to charity shops
  • Durability within materials used 
  • Natural dye and natural mordents
  • Huit Jeans – extended life. 

We then had a debate with the whole class and it was interesting to see what other people thought of their subject and ours. Most of us had said that fashion and textiles is at the moment the most damaging to the industry. Sustainability asks us to move from intensive consumerism to a slower consumption. Meaning that if we stopped and took a step back from the things we want and focussed on what we needed to live, then our consumption would be much slower as we wouldn’t need things to keep in with the latest fashion and design.  We also learnt that even though we have all of these methods of throwing things out, it is mainly due to technical obscelete as the objects thrown out often work, its just consumer culture forces us to want a newer looking model as the older is no longer good enough due to the outdatedness of shape/colour. 

Other Obsolecent: 

Economic, component, phsychological. 

Identity, needs for attention, self esteem/status, objects we consume say things about us in material society. 

Huw recommended some really interesting books to us, called ‘aging gracefully’ and ’emotional durable design’ but unfortunately I couldn’t find them on metsearch! So when it comes to my essay I will use it thoroughly and specifically for my chosen essay.


  • Subistence based economy – organised around meetng basic needs
  • Local scale production.. products were made by individuals or small groups in labour intensive ways. e.g hard physical work
  • No intensive industrialisation
  • Harmonious with nature

Henry Ford

It was interesting to find out that Henry Ford, mastered the moving assesmbly line and mass production. His most iconic quote “any colour as long as it’s black”. An analysis has suggested that he believed that he had product-market fit. He belived that the product was good enough. (Henry Ford in collaboration with Samuel Crowther in My Life and Work. 1922. Page 72)    “I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.” (Ford. Page 73)

We then looked at other methods of recycling, and how green design then links with eco dsign, and then onto sustainable design. It occurred chronologically. The meaning of the colour green, or the outlook is that it provides social awareness of ehtical and cological issues by consumers, pressure groups and political partners. Deep green has the meaning of valuing all life, and pale green is viewing the environment from a human perspective. 

We also watched a video on coca cola, and surprisingly, you think that by recycling the plastic bottles, you’re helping the environment and doing your bit, but only a few of them actually get recycled and reused. The rest are completely disregarded and put to aside and damaging our world due to the way we live our lives.