To Rethink or Redesign?

Finally we have something to do! It is a little strange to be back at university but not really back. My room has become the studio and our flat has become the art school. However, I am so glad to be back in Edinburgh and starting my third year. How crazy!

The first project of the year is based around the environment. As a designer, we have to understand the impact of design on the environment. On the other hand, we also have to understand how design can help the environment too.

To really understand how designers can help the environment through their work, we needed to research other pioneers in this field.

Mark Shayler

Mark Shayler is an innovation and environmental advisor and he gave a very good TED talk about this topic, of which you can find here or down below. His theories about design innovation varied but these were the main points I took away from his talk:

  • Value everybody’s opinions as everyone has a different background and therefore a different perspective.
  • It is not just sufficient to just do it better when it comes to design. We need to create new solutions and designs towards issues.
  • People rely on transient things not permanent or better quality items. 
  • Society needs to learn that they have to pay that extra amount for better quality items.
  • Why aren’t we trying to disrupt the model more of buying things cheaply but more regularly, rather than spending more money and getting better quality but buying it once.
Making Stuff Better and Making Better Things. (2015). [Video] Brighton: TED talks

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation really focus on educating people about a Circular Economy. I am not going to lie, this sounded rather dull to me and made me think I accidentally swapped to an Economics degree, but once I actually looked into it, it was rather interesting.

What is a Circular Economy I hear you asking? Well, according to the website, “a circular economy is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society and the environment. It is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite sources.” So, in short, it just means an economy in which a material can be repeatedly recycled, remade and redistributed.

They’ve worked with some big name companies such as Google, Ikea, Unilever, Renault and Danone, so they are really getting big corporations to think in this new circular way. They also have a range of initiatives such as Make Fashion Circular and Food Initiative which just shows that Circular Design can be applied to all aspects of life. If you want to see their website in further detail, I have linked it in here.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, (2017). Main page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 September 2020].

The Circular Design Guide

This is a sister website to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and it teaches designers and business on how to be an innovator by using Circular Design in their work. 

The site gives many methods to businesses on how to weave Circular Design into their models. They do this by having an endless amount of resources, such as courses you can do from home and so much reading material! Again, you can see their website here.

The Circular Design Guide, (2018). The Circular Design Guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 September 2020]

Fashion Revolution

Lastly, we have Fashion Revolution. I really believe in their vision of having a “global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.” 

Their aims are to:

  • End human and environmental exploitation
  • Safe working conditions and living wages
  • More equal balance of power
  • Bigger and stronger labour movement
  • Transparency and accountability
  • End to throwaway culture
  • Heritage and craftsmanship to be recognised

They hope to achieve these goals through cultural, industry and policy change as well as having a forum for any environmental queries. Have a look at their website here.

Fashion Revolution, (2019). Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 September 2020].

So that is my first blog post in this series. Keep checking for other blog posts which will be coming soon!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. shirley mclauchlan says:

    Great over view Layla. Well written analysis of project resources.


  2. Shirley Mclauchlan says:

    Forgot to mention the inclusion of measured amounts of plastics ie crisp bag etc was of real value and now I am asking if you could make some sort of ‘kit’ that could be ‘rolled ‘out to schools to encourage them to ‘value’ these throw away plastics ? I think you would be a great ambassador for this sort of work and the sharing of your knowledge would be of value.(we can discuss further on Monday)


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