Materials Origin & Functions
Individual / Group / Artefact- / material-driven
Identifying raw materials and components in a garment can provide an overview of the many material and manufacturing choices a designer and/or fashion brand make during product development. Every single choice, as well as the combination of choices leaves an environmental footprint.
A first step to understanding the potential environmental footprint of a garment is understanding the ‘material journey’ of the multiple materials and components used in a garment. Rather than focusing on quantitative measures, this activity builds on qualitative mapping of material flows.
What materials and components do your garments consist of?
Links to Pillar(s)
Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social
STEP 1: INDIVIDUAL OR GROUPS (2-3 students)
Research where materials come from by asking students to:
Choose an existing product, comparable to what you wish to design.
Take the product apart and group components in material fractions based on functions such as main fabric, zipper, lining, buttons, tags, sewing thread etc.
Identify the materials used.
Research and map resource flows of the materials used from raw material, processing and product manufacturing.
STEP 2: CLASS
Ask students to prepare a visual presentation and share findings with the rest of the class, and discuss:
If the material complexity could be lowered, what kind of alternative material choices could you make in a second iteration of the garment design?
This Activity Links To
Visual presentation of findings and insights.
This activity has been developed with inspiration from The Circular Design Guide’s Smart Material Choices
Fletcher, K. 2012. “Durability, Fashion, Sustainability: The Processes and Practices of Use”. Fashion Practice 4 (2), pp. 221–238.
Hasling, K.M, Ræbild, U., Patel, A. & Herrtua, I. 2020. Material Pathways. Design School Kolding
Nørup, N., Pihl, K., Damgaard A. & Scheutz, C. 2019. “Evaluation of a European textile sorting centre: Material flow analysis and life cycle inventory”. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 143, pp. 310–319.