Fast fashion and fast furnishings contribute to the unsustainability of the textile industry in multiple ways, and the deleterious impacts of fast furnishings, in particular, have encouraged some companies to embrace more holistic and sustainable approaches to interior textile design. As such, the purpose of this study was to explore designers’ perspectives on if and how decisions made during the design process for interior textiles may impact human health and the environment throughout the product life cycle, and if and how these decisions may be influenced by the engagement with and/or responsibilities toward stakeholders. This research was informed by multiple frameworks, including the design for the environment (DfE), product life cycle assessment (LCA), and stakeholder theory. Data were collected using an interpretive, qualitative research method that involved in-depth interviews with 12 US designers/design managers who specialize in the development of residential and/or commercial interior textiles. Findings revealed that participants demonstrated professional understanding of human health and environmental issues during the preliminary stages of the life cycle, including raw material selection, textile fabrication, and finishes and treatments, whereas understanding of such issues at the later stages of the life cycle (packaging and transportation, consumer care, and post use) tended to be more theoretical rather than strategic. Findings also revealed differences among designers employed by DfE-oriented companies and designers employed at more conventional companies with respect to their apparent understanding of how decisions made during the design process may impact human health and the environment throughout the product life cycle. This research contributes to our understanding of the role that designers may play in mitigating the negative impacts of interior textiles throughout the product life cycle. A limitation of this study is the size of the sample; conclusions are based upon the insights gained from 12 designers of interior textile products, and thus may not be generalizable to all designers/companies in the residential and/or commercial interior textile industry.
Textiles and Clothing Sustainability – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 7, 2016
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