* Sustainable design.

I have always been intrigued by the use of the word #sustainability in various platforms by the members of our design community. Though the word sustainable is used fashionably as a business module, its seldom taken seriously in the design process.   

So what is sustainable design? 

According to wikipedia... The intention of sustainable design is to eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful and sensitive design.It requires renewable resources, impact the environment minimally, and connect people with the natural environment.

Well, as i am in the business of textile and clothing in an emerging market like India, here is how i interpret sustainable design.

* It has to do with better performing utilitarian product without compromising on aesthetic value : Imagine a garment which becomes better after every wash or over a period of time, do we still throw away saying its not fashionable anymore. No right? A sustainable design not only makes a customer connect with the product emotionally but also encourages using and maintaining practice and hence improving the life span of the product. 

* It has to do with reducing waste, protect natural resource and conserve energy : In most cases energy is invisible and hence we assume the product is green, but if we engage in wasting energy in designing, procuring and producing then we have solved very little. Design is basically about solving problem and solving everyday small problem leads us to engaging in the larger ones. 

* It has to do with inducing hand skill, promoting local craft and producing a simple and relevant product to the end consumer in humble capacity : Sustainable design has to be small, it cannot be factory produced. But sustainable design market need not be small, this industry can do well with more smaller brands solving different problems using various skill set. This approach is not only good for consumers but also democratizes design. 

But here is the bigger responsibility for all of us, the next step in sustainable design needs to address not only what people buy but also the way they use it. Not changing peoples consuming behavior can be a lost opportunity for any designer. We do not want to design for greed and propagate a materialistic lifestyle , do we?   


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