Garments with Many Lives

1-3 hours
1-2 days

Discussion / Group



When designing for circularity, a multiplicity of examples of designing for the first loop exist, whilst garment design for the second and third loops are rarely exemplified and discussed. This likely due to the lack of control designers and companies have on the overall supply chain or product lifecycle, and the lack of knowledge and transparency of a product’s life after it leaves retail.

Nevertheless, designing for multiple loops from the beginning, can enhance the degree to which resources (materials, parts and products) can stay in circular loops, profiting both economic and environmental interests.

How to design for multiple lives?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social



Discuss options for multiple loops in the same garment using the Butterfly Diagram as a reference. 


Ask students to propose and sketch multiple loops concepts in the Butterfly Diagram. Encourage development of multiple loops systems; (1) close to the user (at maintenance and reuse level), (2) far from the user (at material resource level), and (3) as combinations of different loop levels. If possible, students should bring in examples of companies that have worked with similar loop systems.


Ask students to present their developed multiple loops systems. The discussion can be guided by the following questions: 

  • Which loop systems seem easy to implement, and why? 

  • Which loop systems seem difficult to implement, and why?

This Activity Links To
  • Templates with the Butterfly Diagram to support the delivery.

  • This activity has been developed with inspiration from “The Circular Design Guide” and “TEDs Ten: 2 – Design for Cyclability”.

Suggested Readings

Mestre, A., & Cooper, T. 2017. “Circular Product Design. A Multiple Loops Life Cycle Design Approach for the Circular Economy”. The Design Journal 20, nr. Sup1, pp. 1620–1635.

Rissanen, T., Grose, L., & Riisberg, V. 2018. “Designing Garments with Evolving Aesthetics in Emergent Systems”. Proceeding of the Global Fashion Conference 2018. London, United Kingdom.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2012. “Chapter 2: From linear to circular Accelerating a proven concept” in: “Towards the Circular Economy vol. 1”., pp. 21-34