OUTCOME

The aim was to research and build an innovative emotionally durable design by exploring the creative boundaries. The essay demonstrates that emotionally durable design can be created through sustainable fabric coloring. In-depth research of emotional durability, textile colorants, health and safety of soot, the study of the impact of fast fashion was done .These factors have influenced my practice and the design outcome. Through my research, I have concluded that consumers need to slow down, learn to conserve and reuse. Colorants and their ill effects have been an important aspect of the research and a lot of emphasis has been given to it. Attempts were made to make the product as sustainable as possible. I have achieved my goal by a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, by using a common air pollutant and putting waste to use. Secondly, by applying a technique which would use less natural resources. The process used for printing was eco-friendly with minimum usage of water. Therefore water is saved. There is reduction of industrial waste generation. Decreased waste generation indirectly reduces the cost incurred in treating the effluent to make it safe for disposal and saves our water bodies from pollution. Even if the industry does not follow the norms laid by the pollution control authority the damage to the environment is minimal toxic waste is generated. Thirdly, by involving the consumer, the lifespan of the end product increases as the end user will not discard it due to his/her emotional connection.

The consumer is actively involved in the design making process. The fabric will depict his/her story in the form of a travelogue. Though this end product will be similar to a souvenir, the process of individualization will increase the lifespan of the product. An individual will have an option of documenting multiple journeys on the same fabric. This aspect will reduce the consumption to a large extent. The very basis of this project is to develop a long lasting association between the product and the consumer by promoting a better sustainable product and the need to consume less but tasteful. The Idea is to hopefully influence consumers to opt for slow fashion over fast fashion. According to Nayelli Ganzolezan, a fast fashion industry churns out cheap products seasons after the season at the speed of consumer’s changing tastes, making slow fashion an oxymoron. Plain and simple, slow fashion promotes high quality versus fast production, durability versus design for obsolescence and mindful consumption versus overconsumption.

This scope of development is an ongoing research. The outcome presented will be an attempt to show the development done with the printing technique till date. The garments are a template for the artistic outcome with motifs as representation of the destinations . The research done till now has only shown the possibilities related to this substance. Soot print can be combined with other techniques. It could be developed into digital printing. It could be even developed into yarn dyeing stage. This future development with soot shows a promising future.

 

 

 

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DESIGN PROCESS

An important aspect of this project is to create an emotional connection between the consumer and the print. Individualization would want the consumer to keep the product for a longer duration, making it a sustainable concept. In this project, a wearable memento of the fond memories of the places visited was created. The information of the location details in terms of latitudes and longitudes of the destination was collected. This data was then converted into a design motif. Thus, the relationship is transferred into a design on the fabric These motifs are an aesthetic representation of these locations. The motifs could depict a variety of information, for example – the place of birth of the consumer, location of the consumer’s university, important events in the consumer’s life etc.
Three techniques were experimented for making of motifs – digital embroidery, laser etching and digital printing.

The soot print is layered with these motifs, as contemporary mark making. An application of soot print was done on two categories of products. One was a zero-waste pattern, free size and androgynous garment and the other category was panels. Sustainable material and yarns like Tencel, organic linen, and organic cotton were selected.

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ABOUT SOOT

In this era of industrialization and mechanization, soot is a very common waste by-product and an air pollutant. The commercial name of soot is Carbon Black. Carbon Black (methane & acetylene based) is widely used as an inorganic pigment in the tyre industry as well as in cartridges for printing on paper. In Asia, a mixture of oil and soot is used as an eye liner (Kumar, 2009). Reviewing previous possibilities as well the current use of the material, it is clear that this waste by-product ‘soot’ does possess coloring properties.
Alkyl Amines Private Ltd in India became my primary source of acquiring the waste by-product soot. Experiments were carried out to convert this air pollutant into a useful end product.

“There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs, there’d be no place to put it all.”
-Robert Orben, 1927, P.36

 

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES

SOOT is a black or brown flaky powder which is produced due to the incomplete combustion of organic matter. The texture of the powder is fine and soft. According to reports presented by US Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 ‘Soot’ can be found in diesel engines, vehicles tailpipes, coal plant smoke stacks, oil refineries, and fires – the burning of large forests, for agricultural purposes, grills fireplaces and cook stoves for cooking and heating. It consists of acids, chemicals, metals, soil, and dust. The size of each molecule is 2.5 Pico meter.
As soon as furnace oil is burnt in the burner, smoke is produced, which has a large percentage of carbon particles. When furnace oil is burnt, due to the incomplete combustion of carbon and oxygen, a chemical reaction takes place, resulting in the formation of carbon monoxide and black carbon (soot) along with a bit of moisture. This moisture keeps the flaky substance together. The carbon monoxide generated is a poisonous gas. (Keefe, 2011)

Study of the industrial chimneys at Alkyl Amines Ltd helps understand that there are filter bags at the bottom of the chimney and these devices try to filter carbon particles and restrain the particles from getting released into the air. Thus, the chimneys in the industries/factories trap the ‘soot’, and carbon particles are prevented from contaminating the air. The filters that have to be used in the chimneys in industries and factories have to be of appropriate dimensions, such that the smoke which is released into the atmosphere, have particles less than 50-100 parts per million.

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HEALTH AND SAFETY

It is very important to study the health and safety aspects of this textile colorant developed from soot because it will be used on the fabric which is in direct contact with the skin of the wearer. It may also be a health hazard for the workers/technicians who are involved in the production process of this colorant. Hence, a scientific reviewing of the process and the risks it possesses is imperative.

Carbon Black User’s Guide – Safety, Health and Environmental information by International Carbon Black Association clearly states :

– Application of a carbon black suspension to the skin of mice, rabbits, and rats – no skin tumors were reported. Dust may cause drying of the skin because of the direct, repeated and prolonged contact. Tests on the skin of guinea pigs did not produce sensitization. No cases of sensitization have been reported in humans. Hence making it safe enough to be used for the project.

– Soot in the atmosphere contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs in soot are known mutagens and are harmful when inhaled ( International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 2010)

– No adverse effects have been described. Carbon black in the eye causes reactions no different than other dust particles in the eye.

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TEXTILE & ENVIRONMENT

Fast Fashion is a term commonly used by retailers to define a collection which moves from runway quickly and captures the current fashion trends. Due to this quick shifting of products, consumers have 58% of products with no emotional connection. The life span of the cloth is decreased. (Fletcher 2008)

Delivering new trends in short seasons leads to an increase in the speed of manufacturing. This puts immense pressure on the suppliers to make huge volu­mes at a low price and under tight deadlines. This ten-years-old industry is creating a worrisome trend because it creates demand for fashion and then constantly churns out huge amounts of cheap clothes, ultimately accelerating carbon emissions and in turn, contributes to global warming. The consumers in this era of fast fashion end up having wardrobes full of cheap clothes, most of which end in the landfill. There are also several industries that have no policy or commitment towards zero discharge. Greenpeace’s analysis exposes some of the fast fashion brands like Primark, Zara, H&M, Vera Mode with little or no policy or program for chemical management, and no commitment to Zero Discharges. (Refer appendix – articles 4)

Thus efforts have to be made at each step to make the textile industry as less polluting as possible by applying the principles of sustainability. The effect of fast fashion is far reaching. In this project, I am focusing on colorants and the focus has been narrowed to look at coloring and emotional durability.

fastfashionexcessFast Fashion Excess (2015)

Natahadibrata (2013) has provided information about the environmental issues related to colorants in the textile industry. A glaring example of environmental pollution of the water bodies is the ‘Citarum’ river in West Java, Indonesia. The Citarum river is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world. There are hundreds of textile factories along the shores and these industries are using dyes to make a chemical called “Fukushima”. According to Green Peace Organization, 68% of the industrial facilities on the upper Citarum produce textile waste and are adversely affecting the health of 5 million people and wildlife living in the river basin. Clothing manufacturers dump their harmful chemicals into the river making it highly toxic and alkaline. This water when it comes in contact with the human skin may cause burns due to its toxic nature.(Jataka,2011).

Altogether more than half a trillion gallons of fresh water is used in the coloration of textiles each year. The discharge is often untreated and released into the nearby rivers, where it reaches the sea and eventually spreads across the oceans. According to Yale environment 360, China discharges roughly 40 percent of these chemicals. This is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many more textile industries around the world which are polluting water bodies. Chemicals have far reaching ill effects on human beings, wildlife, plant life, land, water, and air. Approximately 100,000 synthetic chemicals are currently available in the market and one thousand new chemicals are added yearly. (Problems: Pollution, 2011). It is a global issue with far reaching effects on the environment and our natural resources.

Dr. Raj Sharma made a very important point during the ‘Fabric of India’ conference in Delhi in 2011 held by Victoria and Albert Museum in 2015. Environmentalists have realized the implications of the pollution caused by the current coloring industry Once the pollutants have affected the soil, air, and underground water, it is extremely difficult to achieve effective decontamination. Furthermore, ‘end of pipe’ pollution control systems are not considered ideal as these involve ever-increasing costs and are not optimum from the environmental point of view.

These observations help us to understand the complexity of the issue of sustainability – the fundamental point being that it is better for society to prevent pollution than to cure it. During concept development of this project, careful consideration has been given to understanding what is currently happening in these polluting industries. After analyzing the impact appropriate steps for reducing the harmful effects have been implemented.

 

CONCEPT

2The project ‘SOOT – A study of emotionally durable design and textile colorants’ explores the emotional connection a consumer has with the product using an innovative method of printing with an air pollutant. The basis for this project is “fast fashion” and the implications and impact of this fashion industry on the environment and resources.
In fast fashion trends, clothing is designed to be moved as quickly as possible from the runway to store. This has resulted in an astounding growth of the fast fashion industry. In the present scenario, it seems like a great alternative as it is affordable, easy and fast. It is essential to slow down and also to consume mindfully.

The majority of the people want to wear the latest trend and experience the pleasure of wearing something new even though the experience is short lived. The short lived association of the consumer with the object and the ever increasing hunger for something new leads to excessive and fast manufacturing. This has lead to many issues of sustainability With these thoughts and ideas as a background for my research, I aim to find the answer to the correlation between emotionally durable design and sustainable textile coloring. The goal is to design a product which is sustainable, personalized and innovative. The key aspects involved in developing this product are material, colorants, process, and emotions. This project involves analyzing and researching sustainable materials. The other important aspect is the choice of colorants. Further research into coloring leads the project towards discovering a material called ‘soot’. It showed tremendous coloring possibilities. Soot is available as a waste by product in industries. Printing with soot results in rich shades of grey, which showed the potential of utilizing a waste resource as a colorant. The three important aspects of my project, namely emotions, textile colorant, and soot are dealt with in the essay in detail.

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This soot is now collected in filters, which are inbuilt.

“There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs, there’d be no place to put it all.”

-Robert Orben, 1927,P.36

EMOTIONALLY DURABLE DESIGN

Everything we do, every decision we make is in relation to emotions, and much of it is at the subconscious level. Our emotions change the way we think and serves as a constant guide to appropriate behavior, steering us to move away from the bad, guiding us towards the good. In the book “Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things” authored by Donald A. Norman (2005, p.35) he has written a chapter ‘The Multiple Faces of Emotion and Design’ in which he emphasizes how objects evoke memories. According to him, long-lasting emotional feelings take time to develop: they come from sustained interaction. The question being – Why do people like or dislike, love or hate?

The most important aspect of these feelings is the history of interaction, the connection that people have with objects, and the memories they recall.
An individual will discard a product when it displays an absence of meaning. By cultivating an emotional and experiential connection between a person and an object, we can disrupt our dependency on consumption of new objects. (Chapman 2005). The desire to analyze this connection between emotions and consumer behavior developed during the various journeys I have taken for education and for pleasure. My general observation is that visitors generally stop by the souvenir shops when traveling to a new city or country, but the question is how many individuals could really connect with the objects and for how long. Poor aesthetics of these objects further adds to this lack of attachment with the souvenir. Therefore, methods to increase the lifespan of the product became an interesting area to investigate into. (Braungart,2008)

The inspiration for this project came from the various souvenirs which my family and I had collected during our trips to different part of the world. After a while these mementos lost its meaning. This fact laid the foundation for my project. I started observing and analyzing people’s behaviour at tourist spots. Most of the tourist attraction have souvenir shops in close proximity to them and they are crowded during peak seasons. A souvenir represents a part of that place and enables the visitor to connect the memories of his/her journey to the destination that he/she visited. Most of the visitors buy a souvenir as a memento or a keepsake.

The main aim of this project is to explore the emotional connection an individual has with a particular place and to depict his/her travelogue on a fabric. To study consumer behavior, more specifically as to which items are purchased by the end user and what kind of objects do people/ travelers prefer to keep as memorabilia (Refer appendix – 1) a market survey has been conducted. People from the age group 20 – 40 years have been surveyed across different geographical locations and diverse cultural backgrounds. The general observation is that people of this age group could not connect with the currently sold souvenirs. (Refer Fig: 5 and 6). The consensus is that they do not have one physical platform which is useful and personalized. The challenge was to develop an aesthetics for the visual association.

Is personalization a solution to sustainability?

Walker (2004) pointed out that a sustainable solution can be understood as one that possesses enduring value in the term of its meanings and characteristics. Personalization of one’s own belongings becomes an interesting part of the emotional attachment. He clearly states that adding his or her individual character to the expression of the object, making the consumer a co-creator definitely adds more value to the product.
The world is becoming a small place with the advent of globalization. People traveling all across the world has become common. People are traveling for various reasons like education, business, adventure, tourism etc. The personal experiences, associations, and memories of the destination become a part of the traveler’s emotions, but long-lasting emotional feelings take time to develop: they come from sustained interaction. In the review of the article (Shen, 2011) visitors purchase souvenirs as a token of remembrance. These keepsake or mementos are generally in the form of postcards, souvenirs or monuments and are a sentimental symbol – as a source of the memory of association. Unfortunately, these associations may be short lived. To overcome this issue, this project is undertaken to create a souvenir in the form of a fabric. The fabric will document the travel story which aims to have a long lasting association with the user making this a sustainable buying choice. Once this fabric is a part of their wardrobe, the wearer will own something that he/she has contributed in designing. This unique cloth will reflect his/her personal journey, unlike anything else anyone else possesses. This uniqueness to some extent may be the actual reason for not wanting to discard. ( Moth&Gradetti, 2009). This might also create a substitute for the desire to buy something new.