Transformational Cloth: Weaving the undervalued threads of textile waste into a value added change model

Donna Cleveland, PhD (2014 – 2017)
Building a design solution to NZ’s textile waste issue, by reanimating the fibres into new textile solutions that match the economy of scale with the style of innovation.

People Involved:
Donna Cleveland – PhD researcher
Associate Professor Frances Joseph – Primary Supervisor
Dr Amanda Smith – Secondary Supervisor

Abstract:
Existing fashion theory proposes that one solution to unsustainable practices within the industry relies on building a re-connection between the value of fashion garments and the textile involved in their production.This research project identifies some of the key issues surrounding an unsustainable apparel manufacturing process and the associated complications of pre- and post-consumer textile waste. This inquiry will inform the development of a number of customised textile waste recycling and design processes as models for New Zealand based companies. The disposal of textile waste continues to cause considerable environmental problems, with much sent to landfill.   Drawing from a range of literature from sustainability theory, design and system thinking, models of change and value creation, the project seeks to disrupt the present status and develop alternative systems. Building from an analytical framework and a textile recycling process developed during previous Honors level research, this design led inquiry engages industry partners within New Zealand’s fashion, apparel and textile manufacturing sector.  The research will develop change models and test these new strategies for engaging local industry and creating value through customized recycling and product development strategies. The project aims to bridge the gap between sustainability theory and the practical application of it by employing a holistic, systemic approach to create positive change.

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