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Design Futures is now open for applications!

Design Futures 2022 Launch at The Lab E20

Last week we celebrated the launch of Design Futures 2022 in collaboration with PANGAIA.

Taking place at The Lab E20, the event offered attendees the chance to hear from our panel of judges including Craig Smith (PANGAIA), Shajila Dube (Institute of Positive Fashion), Laetitia Forst (Centre for Circular Design), Phoebe English and Sarah Mower, about this year’s design innovation challenge. 

Speaking to the crowd, Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District, said she was ‘excited by the energy of the challenge,’ as well as the conversation that arose throughout the night. 

Kicking off the event was our keynote speaker Marilyn Martinez from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who stressed the importance of designing for reuse, as well as factoring in emotional durability and customer experience. ‘Collaboration is key,’ Marilyn said. ‘We need to think about how we include people in the conversation, both consumers and big businesses. This will bring about true change.’ Marilyn also highlighted the importance of designing circular business models and supply chains. ‘It’s okay to start small. You have to start somewhere,’ Marilyn added. ‘Circular design is a journey but there is a huge purpose – you’re making a difference.’ 

Afterwards our judging panel took to the stage to share what they’re looking for in this year’s challenge. Craig Smith, Research and Development Director of Pangaia, said he’s looking for ‘a fresh perspective and originality’ while also highlighting that applicants should be transparent in ‘acknowledge where they might need support.’ Finally, he signed off by calling attention to the  4 F’s: Fit, Fabric, Form and Function.  

Shailja Dube emphasized she’ll be paying close attention to construction – how the garment can be reprocessed and taken apart – as well as the scalability of the business model.

Dr Laetitia Forst urged applicants to think about every element of design and what it implies. ‘Being aware of the product’s context can be a good way of showing you’re a conscious designer,’ Laetitia told the crowd.

Sarah Mower said she’ll be on the lookout for proof of concept and innovation, before adding that she hopes the garments will look beautiful. ‘There has to be a reason for the design to exist. Don’t design something that’s ugly.’ She also stressed that having the buyer in mind is incredibly important and wants applicants to think about how they are going to communicate their product. 

Phoebe English said she’s keen to see ‘something that people will treasure,’ as well as ‘careful, considered thinking.’ ‘I want to see designers understand the purpose of their product,’ Phoebe said. ‘Producing less and thinking carefully is key right now.’

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to design a new sustainable solution? Want to be in with a chance of winning £15,000? Applications for Design Futures 2022 are now open!

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