Design & Sustainablity – How to get textile designers on the case?
Carole Collet is Course Director of the MA Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins, College of Art & Design which is part of the University of Art in London. Although it is the biggest university in the world, its programs deal very little with sustainablity. She explained how her message wasn’t really heard when she first proposed the College to integrate sustainability issues into the course. She just went ahead with her idea without really waiting for an official blessing from the institution. I then realized once again that i tour design and art school and still strive to meet lecturers or students who acknowledge the importance of being more eco-conscious. There are exceptions here and there of course. Tom Igoe recently told me about his scheme to push a sustainability discourse at the ITP School of the Arts in New York. With success as the list of student projects to be presented at the ITP Spring show demonstrates: the projects developed with sustainability in mind are clearly tagged with a green label.
Why should we be particularly interested in textiles? Because we wear them, live in them, sit on them, they are used in design, architecture, they surround us. If you look at the bigger picture, you realize that textile has dramatic environmental impacts on the world. Within 40 years there will be 3 billions more people living on the planet. Textile is a very polluting industry. An increased world demand of textile, especially of polyester, can have appalling consequences. Problems range from the use of textile chemicals, pollution to waste water problems, conventional cotton culture is damaging (workers have to wear protective clothing, etc.) But there are alternatives: organic, recycled, more naturally coloured cotton.