Making Clothing Last: A Design Approach for Reducing the Environmental Impacts
Kirsi Laitala, Casper Boks, Ingun Grimstad Klepp


This article discusses the extent it is possible to delay clothing disposal through improved design, thus reducing negative environmental impacts. This has been done by including user centered design methods into more traditional quantitative consumer research to give new insights for design. Empirical data on reasons for disposal of 620 clothing items from 35 persons in 16 Norwegian households was collected. In total, 70 different disposal reasons were registered, which were combined into seven main categories. Changes in garments as well as size and fit issues dominated, while functional, situational, taste, and fashion related reasons were less common. The article concludes with design solutions on four levels related to the important disposal reasons including product design (material and shape), service design, and systems design, but also shows that consumer behaviour is crucial. In addition, the combination of results obtained with various qualitative and quantitative methods proved to be suitable for giving rich data that can be used to drive design research forward.

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