The beginning of any assignments can be struggle, we do know where to begin, what to research and how to organize yourself. Write a dissertation requires effort, discipline, patient and confidence.
The choice of my dissertation theme was a bit easy for me, I always have been interested in Fashion Design, and dedicated myself to expand my knowledge about it, in order to achieve it I did a fashion course during a year before going to the University. I had the opportunity to learn about fashion industry, clothing history, fashion design, collection planning, fashion publicity and communication. In my university in Brazil I’m a student of Design, in our course we study Graphic and Product Design, we also have the opportunity to do lectures from another courses, I did Fashion and Fashion Design, both are lectures from the course of Textiles Engineering.
Work with Sustainable Fashion was also a choice influenced by my previous activities in my University. I my second year I did a lecture called Sustainable Design, which opened my eyes for the subject and make me realize that I want to be a sustainable designer. I was involved in a research project on Sustainable Design via Natural Materials: an analysis of these inferences in the management of Product Design in consumer habits of products with low environmental impact. In my last activity in the project I was doing a research about the impact caused by the fashion and textiles industry, after that I got really interested by the subject of Sustainable Fashion.
Therefore, since that I have a background with the Sustainably and Fashion I decided to work with both in my dissertation proposal, it is a subject that I can continue studying when I come back to Brazil, and I can apply it in my final work of my graduation or in the research project that I was involved. Besides my connection with the subject, I saw that I had many things to learn before beginning to write my dissertation proposal. Through my research I could increase my knowledge more than I expected and my understanding about Sustainable Fashion changed a lot, everything seems clear and I feel the necessity of learning more.
In the final of my first term here in Cardiff, I presented my first idea for my dissertation proposal, in the presentation guide. My first idea it was design a fashion collection focused on the environmental and social aspects of sustainability, choosing sustainable materials and innovative patterns. My presentation was considered good by the Dr. Mahnaz Shah, my previous constellation tutor, which made me happy and confident to continue with my work. After my first meeting with my new tutor, Cath Davies, I had more clarification about how should I proceed, she said that I should research about what is happening now in the Sustainable Fashion World, who had wrote something about it and what are the key debates between fashion and sustainability. My first idea was good, I had already thought about the target audience, inspirations and colours, and I did draft an abstract, contextualization and an explanation of the project ( renatalimaal.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/constellation-presentation-guide-2/ ). However, it needed a lot of developing and study, in my first reading I could realize that, sustainable fashion is not only achieved by choosing the right materials, but changing the way how we interact with the user can be a good strategy.
So I continue with the idea of design clothes, but I focus it in creating a multifunctional garment, that can be worn in many ways and many occasions, using Sustainable Design approaches and strategies to increase the connection between the user and product with the aim to minimize the impact and waste in the environment.
The first books that I chose was Shaping sustainable fashion: changing the way we make and use clothes by Alison Gwilt and Timo Rissanen,Sustainable Fashion & Textiles : Design Journeys by Kate Fletcher and Industrial Design: Eco Design methodology for developing sustainable products by Elizabeth Regina Platcheck and the journal article Discursive Confusion over Sustainable Consumption: A Discursive Perspective on the Perplexity of Marketplace Knowledge by Annu Markkula and Johanna Moisander. I have chose these books, because they could help to better understand the world of Sustainable Design and how could I apply the approaches and strategies into my work, and in addition, understand better the relation between the user and product and how I could improve this relation. Read the books was a little bit complicated, because I have a problem with lack of attention, which can turn the reading in a repetitive activity, since that I have to read the some sentences more than once to get the maximum understanding of it. And also, because I was committed doing second field module project in the Agent for Change. Discipline and patient were essentials tools to pass through this moment.
Since I had read the books and finished my project in the Agent for Change, I stared to write my dissertation proposal, a moment a little bit struggle for me as well, because of my lack of attention and insecurity, thus this, I took too long to write. But with effort, lots of tea and no shame to disturb my flatmate, asking her to review my texts and give me some tips about writing, I managed to improve my writing ability.
During my writing, I noticed that the knowledge acquired in the Agent for Change could be applied in work. In the lectures and meetings in the field module we learnt how we could be agents for change, how we could become designers who concerns about social and environment issues before starting any project. I do not want to take advantage of the peoples desires, trying to sell to product that people do not really need. For me Design is about improve people life, designing useful and functional products. As designers, we have to be sustainable agents, think about the product as entire system, we cannot be sustainable only in on phase of the product. This knowledge helped me to write the explanation about my dissertation, justification and objectives of the dissertation proposal.
When I was doing the reviews of the books, everything were clear, write the chapters and the abstract was simple than I expected, I see now why my tutor said to begin with the books’ reviews, after doing that my ideas were more organized and I had more confidence to write the another topics.
Doing my pre dissertation it was a hard job, but I enjoyed. Learn more about Sustainable Fashion makes me think about my actions and reflect about who I want to be as a person and designer. In addition, I can continue working with the same subject when I come back to Brazil, since my University has a similar process for the final work in my course, which is great.
Through the feedback that we had from the students and tutorials, our aim is this presentation is to show the students that the world is going to a dark place, showing images and evidences that prove this statement. However, they can change this reality, if they engage with sustainable activities and turn into to agent for change with critical thinking.
Our campaign is to promote a day of art using moss graffiti as technique, and with this graffiti occupy the spaces that are occupied by cars. Beyond the idea of occupying car spaces with moss graffiti, the students will be able to see the bad effects of car fumes in the environment as well. The moss is very sensible plant, in contact with the car fumes it can dies in less than two week. Thereby, they will see the car fumes destroying their graffiti and notice the bad effects caused by cars on nature. Our presentation is focus on the negative impacts cause by car fumes, because is something that they can see daily.
If the students are engage in a sustainable activity, they may realize the impacts of the cars on the environment and reflect that having a car is not a real need.
It was a good tutorial, after talking with Mike we had a clear view about the presentation and how we were going to engage the students in our campaign. He gave us some tips about how we should approach the students and how we could do the presentation. And we also changed our slogan to “Grow your future to nature, not for cars”, which is more about the youth building good future for them and for the environment.
1- In the first slide we will talk about the “bad future” that is waiting for us, which is : air pollution, animal’s extinction, health problems and others.
WHY?: During the meeting in Llanishen High School, the students said that they are affected by how the future is going to be like if the no one minds about taking care of the environment. Through this reply, we are going to show them how the world can look like in the future.
2- In the second slide we will show them all the good things that they expect in their future, which is: travelling, landscapes, relationships, parties, success… Things that they could loose if the world turn into a bad place.
3- The third slide is about empower the students, show them that they can change the world around them and still have the good future that they expect.
4- The fourth slide we are going to show them the moss graffiti, and suggest that they could use this it “against” the cars, occupying with nature and art the places that were used for cars. And through this activity they could become agents for change the community and engage with the neighbourhood.
WHY?: In the meeting with the students, they said that they would not park or they would reflect about not parking in a place with art/plants/flowers/images of animals and they said that using the car space as a canvas it is a good idea.
5- Show them places that they could occupy with the moss graffiti.
As a result of our meeting with Neil, our concept changed one more time. Using the slogan “Grow space for nature not for cars”, our aim it is now to try to engage the youngsters to do moss graffiti in the places that use to be occupied by cars in the school and neighbourhood. Our slogan is about the nature taking over the places that were took from her, and it is job of the new generation grow more space to nature.
Drive is a ritual of passage in our culture, so the young people need to experiment a new ritual, that can make them feel powerful and important in the society. Engaging them in a sustainable activity, would perhaps turn them into agents for change the environment and the habits of the community. Through this activity the students would feel that they can do things to change the world around them, using art and nature as tools, and would also help them to connect with the community. Maybe in the future, they will not think about occupying parking areas with cars, but occupying them with art and nature.