There are systemic problems with the way we design and use objects that contribute to a linear model of growth in the global economy. Resource use and consequent waste in textile manufacturing, distribution and end-use poses significant socio-environmental issues, globally. Cited among the most pollutive industries, research towards a circular textile economy is imperative. Material cycles are recognised as a fundamental factor towards responsible design. However, biological and technical cycles are often seen as two separate material solutions. For example, in the biological cycle, emerging material innovations for bio-based plastic alternatives aim to increase sustainability and reduce non-biodegradable waste. This is a growing field of research, yet, only few alternatives have reached the commercial market.
This paper proposes that value-adding potential of technological advances can enhance our engagement with natural materials, taking a holistic view of design responsibility and intersectional human, animal rights and environmental stewardship.
With a rise in professional and academic interest in bio-integrated design solutions, this paper will review state of the art research in the field with focus on a case study of a current research project, “Digital Processing for Bio-Material design and Sustainable Material finishing”. In which, digital fabrication methods are integrated into the design of natural and bio-based materials as an approach for textile design and finishing. The study shows how harm-free bio-digital processes can be used as sustainable alternatives to disrupt the current wasteful and problematic textile dyeing, printing and supply chain.
Morgan, L. (2021, March). Kind materials: Bio-digital textile design. Paper presented at Fifteenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices, Universidad de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico