Fashion and the Doughnut Economy

In an attempt to make economics sweeter, renegade economist Kate Raworth coined the term Doughnut Economics, highlighting the very much sour reality of today's economic models. Economics to me is much like a foreign language I simply cannot fathom. However, Raworth has inspired me to consider that is in fact crucial to adopt the principle of economics in my line of work as a fashion practitioner. How is it that with the current economic system a country can thrive, whilst others are completely stagnant? She warns us we cannot run away from economics. She links it to how its the mentality societies are run by — in short: looking at economics from a human well-being perspective.

Economics to thrive on human well-being. Is it possible? And how can we adopt this thinking-model to the fashion industry?

Believing the answer to the first question is yes, to answer the latter, I am diving into concepts that link to circular design and how through fashion we can shift the economy to the benefit of humanity. What does this mean in practical terms? If we approach design with a holistic mindset, in which we look at principles such as reusing and recycling, we are designing waste out of the system benefitting the future of our home, the planet. For this to happen, we must change how we consume, and how we look at ownership of a product. The key is to look at design longevity, and how to ensure the things we own, produce and buy have a very long life-cycle.

With the objective of creating products with a long useful life we must ensure we follow the following circular design principles:

  • Physical durability

  • Emotional durability

  • Easy to service and repair

  • Adaptable design

  • Recyclable 

I encourage all fashion practitioners to adopt an economic-thinking to their work approach. And more specifically keep asking yourself: how can I influence the way I design, produce and consume in an effort to contribute positively to human kind and our planet?

Photograph by Jonathan Frantini, Miart 2019

Photograph by Jonathan Frantini, Miart 2019