Breathing is an action required to sustain life.
As designers, we have a responsibility for the things we create. Our job is to design and bring to life products and experiences that have an impact on everything from the people who help us in the process and the customers who fall in love with our work to the nature and animals around us.
This is one reason I want sustainability to be incorporated as a whole throughout my brand as well as in every little detail of the products. By accepting that my brand is not 100% sustainable and through a constant questioning of my own choices and existing opinions I want to create design with a heart.
So what is sustainability? ‘Sustainable’ and ‘sustainability’ are terms that are used very freely and are interpreted in different ways by different people.
The Oxford Online Dictionary defines ‘sustain’ as:
1. Strengthen or support physically or mentally
The Oxford Online Dictionary defines the word ‘sustainable’ as follows:
1. Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level
1.2 Conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources
Based on this, I would say that we could perhaps define ‘sustainability’ as the ability to strengthen, support, and maintain an ecological, ethical, and economic balance in the world…
If we stay with that thought, a fully sustainable business, especially within something like fashion, is more or less impossible at the moment. I say ‘at this moment’ and ‘more or less’ because it is not an inevitable impossibility. It is not impossible to create a business that sustains itself and the world, gives back for the resources it takes, and does no significant harm. However, it does require a lot of creativity and collaboration.
Currently sustainability could maybe be viewed as a process and journey in finding better or the best alternatives when it comes to environmental, ethical, and economic issues. Sustainability is about conscious actions, creative thinking, questioning existing designs and methods, and last but definitely not least: respect. We have to respect the people we work with, the products we buy, and the whole world. We need to respect the world around us for everything it gives us.
True sustainability should strive for good and not just better. With creativity, respect, and quality design we can be off to a very promising start.