Circular By Design

What is circular design?

An estimated 80% of a product’s environmental impact is decided at the design stage. Decisions made early in the design process critically impact how products are used and, later, handled at end of life. But it also goes beyond the product – the circular economy requires us to redesign everything – from materials, to products, to services, to systems. This means that we, as designers, play a pivotal role in the transformation toward a circular industry. Therefore, while design has typically been part of the problem, it has the potential to be part of the solution.

It’s crucial that designers begin to radically reimagine the way we design, manufacture, sell, use and dispose of textiles, in order to:

  • Reach the sustainability goals, set out by the SDG’s and the Paris Climate Accord
  • Get ahead of incoming European and international regulation
  • Be part of the solution on a world stage of design leadership & innovation

Today, there is no industry standard for circular products, nor is there an agreed upon definition or

criteria for us to use. However, on a product level, we can work with four interdependent circular design strategies. These are; 

  • Design from Renewable, Safe and Recycled Materials
  • Design for Durability
  • Design for Cyclability
  • Design for Minimal Waste

In the following section we’ll explore each of these strategies, how to apply them to your own context, and examine how international frontrunners are leading the way. 

What is a circular product?

Circular Design

Design for Minimal Waste

Circular Design

Design from renewable, safe and recyclable materials

Circular Design

Design for Emotion

Circular Design

Design for Durability

Circular Design

Design for Cyclability

Circular Design Strategy