Let’s talk about the limit

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In this post, Mong Chan explores how a design-inspired process can be unlocked to achieve a sustainable supply chain in the fashion industry. Leading up to the Degree Show, she shares her perspective of the Anti-Solutioner as an Innovation Manager.

Sustainability pursues the balance and serenity in inner self.

‘The more materialistic values are at the center of our lives, the more our quality of life is diminished.’ (Kasser, 2003, p.14) Today, this underlying fact has not been taken into consideration. With the increase of fast fashion, social media, and emerging markets, the embracement of materialism is the current phenomenon in the fashion industry. I believe this is supplementary to the environments deterioration.

Sophisticated consumers care about the production process and labour working condition. Corporate social responsibility exists to ensure that the code of conduct is followed. But due to the complex and a much dispersed supply chain, the current precautions taken to protect the environment are far from enough. In addition, environmental issues are always the last in the agenda.

The acceptance of the materialism culture has difficultly positioned the fashion supply chain, making it hard to achieve sustainability. This is due to the fashion system operating under the economic system that focuses on supply and demand, and generating profit. It has worked for years; at the same time, it has ignored the limit for years. The desires have been liberated, but the environment has been destroyed, far away from balance.

As an Anti-solutioner who is an observant explorer with a holistic view, I aim to find the fundamental cause, not blindly solve problems. Radical actions have to be taken in achieving sustainability. There is a need to disrupt the fixed mindset to challenge the system and to also disrupt the system so new ones can emerge.

Unsustainable practices within the supply chain can be eliminated through design. From a different perspective, my research explored the design process of the supply chain where designs and decisions are made. It investigates the role of a designer as well as the barriers to innovate within the design process of the closed fashion system. From my findings, designer’s personal traits and perception towards sustainability are the vital variables that affect the supply chain.

A sustainable supply chain starts from the designer, not from the production process. Disruptive characteristics are crucial in taking risks and new perspectives. They are the incentives to initiate change and to innovate. Relatively the fashion system is expected to shift towards a more open system that embraces collaborations and networks outside the fashion industry. This is where the journey towards a pristine Earth begins.

To learn more about the Anti-Solutioner and Mong’s research stay tuned for the upcoming MAIM 2015 Degree Show, taking place at Central Saint Martins in the week starting on the 23rd of June.

*Kasser, T. (2003). The high price of materialism. Cambridge Mass./London, England: The MIT Press.