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Kelly, R., Perry, P., Moriarty, S., 2023.

Closing the loop through circular design education

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:The 92nd Textile Institute World Conference
Venue:University of Huddersfield
Dates:3/7/2023 - 6/7/2023

Fashion and textiles is predominantly an extractive, linear industry which creates huge volumes of waste and we have yet to see a meaningful shift to a circular system that eliminates waste, regenerates natural systems, and keeps materials and products in use for longer. The waste hierarchy prioritises the highest value opportunities, so reducing waste at source and reuse should be implemented before recycling. Circularity requires global cooperation and an industrial scale response supported by community and local approaches, as well as joint participation of multiple stakeholders, including higher education institutions, to encourage more sustainable design and production solutions. This study examines the transformative potential of a cross-cultural and multidisciplinary higher education initiative to encourage circular design practice in aspiring designers and engineers. A British Council-funded circular design challenge aimed at design and engineering students in China explored how circular economy principles can be a catalyst for creativity, collaboration and regenerative thinking within architecture, design and fashion practice, and the critical importance of design for physical and/or emotional durability to reduce waste. Qualitative data gathered from students and tutors informed the development of a conceptual framework for fashion and textiles which could provide directions for designing out waste rather than recycling.