Earth Day was celebrated at JD institute of Fashion technology by conducting a webinar session on 21st of April 2021. Hosted as part of CONV. (Conversations), which is a part of the 3C’s Outreach programme initiated by JD Institute of Fashion Technology for the exposure of its students along with the aim to keep them updated on the current scenarios of the creative industries that will help them create designs that help in sustainable development. This is the 3rd series under the CONV. (Conversations) held with a panel of designer. Four well women in their field of profession, brought knowledge about sustainable development methods that can be initiated by designers from every field of profession. Our four panellists for this webinar were:
Ms. ARUNDHATI KUMAR – The founder of the sustainable brand ‘Beej’.
Ms. LAVANYA GORADIA – Founder of Studio Alaya.
Ms. RASHMI CHAKRABARTY – NSFA Safety and Certification India Pvt Ltd.
Ms. SHYAMALA PRABHU – Architect at Aakruti Architects and Designers
Ms. Shilpa Mallya, Assistant Professor from the Interiors Dept. took the privilege to introduce the panel of designers and carry forward the discussion.
The discussion started with the generic question, ‘What is Sustainability?’ which was directed towards Ms. Shyamala who began by beautifully stating, “Mother Earth can sustain herself, it is we who need her for our survival.” She further explains how the celebration of Earth Day; is reminder for every one of us when we go “complacent”, to become aware and spread awareness of causes and effects of global warming. Sustainability is the change in lifestyle similar to when one decides to go on a diet, she explains, it is about making the right choices to achieve the simplest things such as saving wood or paper. She ended her answer by saying ‘Less is more’; the minimal use of resources will result in minimal wastage.
How do we as designers face the problem of limited resources whilst aiming at sustainable development? This question was directed towards Ms. Lavannya, who explained that there is no limitation in resources but in our thinking. It is the intentions with which you approach the profession – be it architecture or fashion – that determines the availability of resources. The idea of how lightly the design treads on Mother Earth with the conscience will help in sustainable development. She ends by asking us to look from the perspective of what is climatically right and appropriate and how the materials being used for a product help achieve sustainable designs and development.
How are the industries implementing sustainable development? A question directed towards Ms. Arundhati, who explained about the methods and measures taken by the industry to reduce wastage of resources. In fashion, the measures taken by brands such as H&M, Zara, etc., of collecting old garments from customers in exchange to purchase their garments at discounted rates, is not to up-cycling clothes the garments but to sell them to second hand sellers, who further pick out the ones that can be sold and the ones that don’t get picked are thrown away creating landfills. The reason that up-cycling clothes are not initiated by many is because it is a tedious process which requires a huge investment that most brands do not possess. Garment manufacturing is a never ending process, as long as customers keep purchasing them. She ended with a suggestion to minimise purchasing and working on up-cycling clothes.
The final question, ‘What are the methods of increasing the life of a material?’ was directed towards Ms. Rashmi Chakrabarty. She explained how in the textile industry, as we know, materials can last for 5 years or more depending on the quality. Even if the best quality is chosen, the product life will not exceed more than 10 years. There are two ways of increasing product life:
- Taking care of the product as instructed by the manufacturer
- Through 3R’s and up-cycling
She then explains the 6 concepts of designing, that is:
- Design for trust
- Design to develop product and reduce wear and tear
- Design as per standardisation and compatibility
- Design for ease of maintenance
- Design for upgradability
- Design for disassembly and reassembly
She ended with regard to technology, with the example of the FairPhone Company, on how they have taken measures of making a product last for the longest period. The product in this company comes along with a screwdriver that can be used to remove parts of the phone and upgrade it without any professional assistance.
Earth Day was so well explained by our panel of designer, on how we can work towards our sustainable development and reduce wastage of natural resources. At JD Institute, every student is asked to create and design products with focus on environmentalism. To design with purpose and sustainability, is what every student at the institute is taught to work towards, in every department of design.