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Designing useful fashion: a new conceptual model of the garment lifetime

Cramer, Jo

FG Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in der Elektronik

This paper considers how research into clothing lifetimes and consumer practices can be integrated into a garment lifecycle assessment model, to facilitate a reorientation of fashion design from design for sustainable products to design for the conditions of sustainability (after Fry, 1994). Drawing on the research of Payne (2011a) and Klepp (2001), a revised Garment Lifetime Diagram is proposed that segments the use phase to provide a more holistic understanding of the garment lifecycle. By making visible the detail within the phase of use, the aim is to show how designers might foster sustainable clothing use practices through the design decisions they make. In particular, how design might encourage extended garment use. The resulting diagram of a single garment lifetime challenges the popular approach to sustainability through extended use that describes garments with multiple lives (Fletcher, 2008). Arguably, defining the garment lifetime as ownership, reinforces what has been criticised as the inherently anthropocentric viewpoint of sustainable development (Fry, 2009). Instead, the notion of ‘custody’ emerges to describe temporary possession of a living garment.