Ethical Fashion and Design Thinking | Design Thinkers Academy
One of the main draws of our Design Thinkers Bootcamp training course is the unique challenge that drives the week. As explored previously, every Bootcamp challenge focusses on a genuine, social issue — one in need of innovation. For our summer Bootcamp it was no different, with a challenge set by Not My Style. Not My Style are looking to create an ethical, consumer movement that pushes fashion brands to be more transparent about their supply chains, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of the women and men who make our clothes.
The challenge, set by Founder Alisa Miranda and Communications Manager, Hannah Donald, looked to address that issue directly. As Hannah notes, this was further pushed by the fact that they are “currently coming up with the next iteration of Not My Style. Having the opportunity to be a sponsor for the Design Thinking Academy has been an invaluable opportunity for us.”
How can we help consumers to make more socially and environmentally responsible purchasing decisions when it comes to buying clothes?
We’re focusing on: People that love shopping for clothes.
An age range of 20–40, with a disposable income.
On day one the four teams started on user-centred research: interviewing and observing consumers as they shopped on London’s Oxford Street. They then conducted expert interviews with Katie Shaw, a supply chain expert and Lily Chong, founder of ‘Ethical Kind’. This, combined with desktop research, online observation and interviews, helped form their opportunity statements, which then framed the rest of the week. Then, led by our expert coaches, the group’s first started ideating and creating a wide range of ideas to tackle the issue facing them, before narrowing them down into more refined concepts. From that, they began prototyping those solutions and testing them again with users, to gain real insights.
The solutions below are brief outlines of some of the ideas that came out of the course. They were presented back to Not My Style to judge and review.
Scan My Style — “Makes Kind Fashion Easy”
‘Scan my Style’ was inspired by the pressure that the younger generation are now putting on the world to be more socially conscious. It is targeted at people who are “quite aware, but not enough to care”. The concept itself is an app that enables you to scan clothing that you see in your daily life. Instead of showing you that item of clothing, it instead will show you ethical alternatives. These alternatives will come with details on their production, with ratings on things such a sustainability and production values. It would help to drive change in people who otherwise might not make the effort.
Ethical Me — “In Store Once, Online Forever”
‘Ethical Me’ worked to change the online shopping experience, in both a practical and ethical way. It was a new tailored clothes shopping experience for people who value their time, people and planet. The pop-up shop would provide a space where you could get measured, creating a profile which you could then use online. This profile would enable you to find clothes that actually fit. On top of this, the app would tell the story behind the brand and how it was produced. This would help the consumer get the right clothes, both in terms of fit and in terms of being ethical.
Respectful, Responsible — “Providing Trusted Certification That Your Clothes Care”
‘Respectful, Responsible’ was all about community. It worked on the concept of building up a community of suppliers, designers, retailers and influencers with Not My Style. This community then builds a rating system on the ethical and sustainable nature of products. Companies that adhered to the measures would then be able to brand stamp their clothes with this mark. This trusted stamp would encourage people to wear and share their clothes, whilst also propelling Not My Style forward as an industry leader.
Better — “Make the Supply Chain Human”
‘Better’ wanted to make the consumer “better than good”. A multi-faceted idea, it combined multiple elements to drive ethical, sustainably produced fashion. On one side it was an accreditation system, that used a simple traffic light system for brands to be judged upon. This created transparency for the consumer which would influence the brands. This was then linked to a physical marketplace where you could buy the brands, but also connected consumers to the makers around the world. It initiated conversation and put a face behind the product, humanising the fashion industry.
It was amazing to see such interesting and impactful solutions come out of such a short time period. This is just an early stage, but for Not My Style, the week was a success.
As Hannah concludes, “the solutions proposed by the delegates were creative, insightful and extremely helpful. We will be taking ideas from each of the solutions and using them to help us make sure the next version of Not My Style is the very best it can be.”
Stay posted for more updates in the future. If you’re interested in joining our next Design Thinkers Bootcamp and getting involved in a similar styled challenge, then follow this link.
If you’re interested in setting a challenge for one of our Bootcamps on a pressing social issue, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There would be no cost to you, all we need is some of your time — and in return you will get some valuable insights and ideas. For more information on previous challenges and why we work in this way see here.
Article by Benjamin Crisp. Ben is the Marketing & Research Manager at DK&A / Design Thinkers Academy. He was most recently based in Guatemala, working as the Communications Director for social enterprise La Choza Chula. He has articles and photos published in magazines such as HUCK, LOST and The International Times. Ben holds an MA in Journalism Connected from Örebro University.