In step with these troublesome times, design — in all its disciplines — aims to serve a greater purpose in consumers’ lives beyond being aesthetically pleasing.
That was the word from Tim Brown, chief executive officer and president of IDEO, a global design consultancy, during a public chat last week with Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek contributing editor and visiting professor of innovation and design at The New School.
Brown told the standing-room-only crowd, “Instead of always asking, ‘How will we make money out of this?’ we will be in a situation, whether we are professional designers or designers of our own lives, to ask ‘How do we make meaning out of this? How do we make knowledge out of this?’”
The subject of his new book, “Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation,” was a launching pad for last week’s discussion. The way Brown sees it, design stands to be a catalyst for change in relation to an assortment of social issues including global warming, education and democracy.
“One of my great concerns with many of these big issues, and global warming is the biggest of them, is that a lot of the debate is about what we have to give up, and there is not a lot about what we’re going to create,” said Brown.
Afterwards, Brown noted that fashion designers could be instrumental in embracingthis new approach. “I see fashion as a great industry to lead the move toward participation and away from consumption. I think it will happen on two fronts and there is already evidence of both happening,” he said. “Firstly, we have to see closed loop production systems emerging in fashion. This means the use of renewable resources right through the supply chain so that energy and materials are not wasted unnecessarily. This may mean going back to more local forms of manufacturing to cut down the considerable resources used by today’s global supply chains.”
Brown added, “Secondly, clothing is an emotionally and culturally rich piece of our society in which many more consumers could be involved. Already we see evidence with the explosion of knitting and the success of start-ups like Threadless.com, where ordinary people are willing to invest considerable time into clothing with no obvious monetary reward but lots of emotional return. I think the fashion industry will have to figure out ways to be part of this new ecosystem. I expect to see lots of experiments over the coming years as designers and clothing brands explore this opportunity.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews