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Circular Systems

1-2 days

Discussion / Group / Artefact- / material-driven



When designing for circularity there are different ways to go about this. One way is to draw attention to how we create and dispose of materials. This activity focuses on circular systems based on material content of garments. Depending on garment design and material composition there are different strategies for re-cycling, such as design for mono-materiality and disassembly, and design for upcycling. Therefore, the designer can choose to address different strategies for creating garments to be re-cycled into new ones.

How might we design garments with a second or even third life using the same materials?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social



Ask the students to do an investigation of their wardrobe with focus on the material content. 

  • Place mono-material garments in one pile and mixed-material garments in another. 

  • What circular systems can be designed from the garments in the two different piles?


Arrange students into small groups. Ask them to wear either mono-material garments or mixed-material garments for a week, so each group can collect insights on wearing both types of material content. Use the findings for the basis of a group discussion: 

  • What are the good and bad aspects of mono-/mixed-materials?

  • Draw or in other ways visualise how design solutions of a material circular system can look like for both mono-material garments and mixed-material garments. 


Use the student examples for a discussion on material awareness and garment design.

This Activity Links To
  • The creation of drawings/visualisations of circular systems.

Suggested Readings

Ravnløkke, L. & Bang, A.L. 2016. “The Body Stocking: Design Aesthetics and Functionality as a Means for Sustainable Fashion and Textiles”. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Design & Emotion. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Laitala, K., Klepp, I.G., & Beverly, H. 2018. “Does Use Matter? Comparison of Environmental Impacts of Clothing Based on Fiber Type”, Sustainability 10(7), 2524

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