Future of Fashion Module: Estonia’s Circular Economy and Designing a Carbon-Neutral Sneaker

January 6, 2021 by Student Viktoria L.

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Learning Targets

  • 21st Century Skills
  • Applied Experimental Science and Problem Solving Methods
  • Interpretation and Expression
  • People and Cultures
  • Self Development and Social Intelligence

Driving Question: How might we produce a product or concept that contributes to a more sustainable fashion future?

What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

My goals for this module were to learn more about the circular economy in Estonia’s fashion industry and create a sustainable sneaker design using existing solutions. I achieved my goals by doing research and then creating a small presentation and designing a shoe using Photoshop. I gained inspiration from various sneaker companies. My presentation is down below, but you can also access it HERE on Canva, in case you’d like to check out the links and citations.

What did you learn about yourself or about your creative process or about your medium?

In this module, we focused on all the necessary and unavoidable future developments in the fashion industry, which will hopefully happen during the next few decades. As climate change is slowly starting to emerge from all the other problems under the sun, companies are trying to keep up with the demand for sustainable garments. A good illustration of how serious climate change is would be comparing it to our body temperature – if one’s below 37 degrees Celsius, it’s alright. However, only 2 degrees make a big difference in one’s well-being. For example, when I had a high fever, I felt extremely lethargic – now, imagine the Earth not functioning properly. Exactly – it would be a mess, especially happening at a rapid speed!

It was encouraging to learn how other countries have inspired the Estonian Ministry of the Environment to participate in improving their circular economy systems and how studies conducted have found that, although there’s still a lot of improvement to be done, the environmental awareness index had increased from 37,5/100 in 2014 to 47/100 in 2020. This module made me notice a lot of things I haven’t before, and before buying anything, I’d advise everyone to not rely heavily on surmise, but rather think twice before letting a new clothing item into your life.

My summative consisted of making a brief summary about sustainability in the Estonian fashion industry. Additionally, I also designed an illustrative sneaker that could contribute to the importance of sustainability. I learned that it’s very challenging to learn how to use Photoshop, even more so to master the art of designing a sneaker (which I think I still need to practice in case I want to continue exploring this area of fashion). I didn’t know a lot about materials and where they’re sourced from in Estonia, nor did I know how much of an impact we could have on garment factory workers’ health and well-being. It wasn’t a big surprise for me to discover that making a sneaker using entirely Estonian-sourced goods would most likely result in more CO2 emissions than just buying it in bulk from Finland, where they, in turn, get it from India or Turkey.