top of page
Aesthetic Surgery

1-2 hours
1-3 days

Discussion / Group



Using aesthetics and design thinking is one of the ways designers prolong the lifetime of garments. This activity emphasises the designer’s professional skills for making transformations though textile techniques. By exploring techniques that change the surface and shape of existing textiles and clothing, students’ understanding of how post-consumer waste can be transformed into new design is expanded - at the same time this process creates ideas for fashion services that can prolong the lifetime of garments by giving them a second design expression.

What does it take to give new life to existing garments?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social


Introduce the students to different textile techniques to manipulate form and surface. This can include traditional techniques such as form fixation, smocking, felting, re-knitting or re- weaving. Additionally, supplement with a review of how fashion and textile designers work with the various techniques in a contemporary context. 


Each student brings used clothes to experiment with (alternatively, ask for donations at a recycling facility or in your local area). Using these garments as base material, ask students to work with a minimum of two different techniques. Students can either choose to work with the textile surface or the whole piece of clothing, where the meeting between body and clothing is also experimented with. This process should be (photo-)documented.


Students’ samples and experiments are presented to the class. Discuss how techniques can be applied using newer digital technologies, or in combination with digital technology to challenge time and affordability. A guiding question could be: 

  • What are the pros and cons of choosing analogue craft or digital technologies? 


Based on insights and experiences, students develop a concept for a fashion service system that can give garments a second life. The business model is outlined and visualised on a poster to present to the class. 


Ask students to present their business model to each other.

This Activity Links To
  • Create an introduction to textile manipulation techniques which can be supplemented with examples and/or design cases.

  • The activity results in creation of posters illustrating different fashion service systems for recycling post-consumer waste.

Suggested Readings

Hvass, K.K. 2018. “A Consumer-centered Approach for Managing Post-consumer Textile Flows”. In: Niinimäki, K. (ed.) Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy, Aalto University pp. 170-191.

bottom of page