Design for Values in the fashion and textile industry

Eckert, Claudia (2014). Design for Values in the fashion and textile industry. In: van den Hoven, Jeroen; Vermaas, Pieter E. and van de Poel, Ibo eds. Handbook of Ethics, Values and Technological Design: Sources, Theory, Values and Application Domains. Springer Netherlands.



The fashion and textile industry is one of the largest industries in the world producing billions of garments every year with a remarkably low awareness of the moral issues associated with the production and use of garments. After a brief introduction to fashion as a cultural phenomenon, this chapter explains the life cycle of garment production and use, which uses large amounts of energy and water and deploys many toxic chemicals. Globalized production raises many issues around the ethical employment of staff. Design decisions have to be taken throughout the life cycle, but are often highly constrained by the commercial pressures of an industry with very low profit margins. Making moral decision in design is therefore in many cases a selection of the least harmful option. However, the chapter explains how some designers have found business models that allow them to produce garments in a least harmful way. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the conflicting drivers in design for value in the fashion and textile industry.

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