Designing sustainable designers
This action research based thesis uses qualitative interviews and data coding to explore the perspectives and experiences of 17 working apparel designers with sustainability within their design practice. The Disruptive Design Method was employed to structure the research and explore the challenges and opportunities that may exist in order to contribute to the development of more sustainable apparel designers. The findings revealed two distinct designer groups: agentized designers who engage with sustainability as a practice, and disengaged designers who see the problems in the industry as overwhelming. Seven themes emerged: a value action gap, the emotional impact, formative work experiences, and optimism in the face of challenge, knowledge designers hold, the influence of corporate culture, and support or lack of community culture. The outcome that emerged from this research is a synthesis of insights that is conveyed through a set of propositions for further professional development, communication and education around creating more agentized and sustainable apparel designers.