Once again we partnered up with The Design Museum towards the end of September, joining together to explore our actions as consumers and the effects our consumption has on our planet as creatives. Keynote speakers Safia Qureshi, Jo Godden and Sophia Wyatt punctuated a day of positive social discussion attended by an auditorium full of students, educators and change makers. We were privileged enough to be shown projects by Creative Conscience Award winners and short-listers Betty Barucco, Alexander Keblow Kofoed, Christian Skjøtt & Jacob Grandt, Gemma Hockaday, Felix Pöttinger, Alice Lynn, Charlotte Crozer, Kate Caswell, Emily Prior-Such, Samuel Gorham, Joanne Hamilton & Lidia Melero and Shreshta Ramkalaon all of whom offered considered solutions to consumer problems in our modern times.
Playwright and poet Simon Welsh kicked off the day with a poem on consumption, delivered in his Dr Seuss-esque style with the simple, yet often over-looked notion that ‘things’ won’t lead to true happiness. Dramatically setting the tone for the rest of the day, we were introduced to two sets of Creative Conscience award winners and their projects. Ideas presented by the students and graduates included beautifully packaged eco-friendly paper straws linking the user to a petition to ban the use of plastic straws, hand crafted biodegradable paper clothing, a clever ad campaign encouraging people to fix their belongings instead of replacing them and clothing labels divulging the history of the garment allowing for more transparency between production and the buyer. Each of the projects shown was a glimpse into the mind-set of these young creatives, with their passion and positive agenda shining through.
The first of the keynote speakers Safia Qureshi delivered a thorough and concise introduction to her start up Cup Club, a returnable drinks mug offering a tailored end-to-end service helping to reduce single-use plastic packaging by up to 47% and pushing the implementation of the circle economy. Talking through the process of setting up the business, designing and applying the technology and launching the product itself, Safia hammered home the idea of real world ‘briefs’ always being out there and inviting the audience to develop their own solutions to their problems as an alternative to complaining.
Next up, fashion designer Jo Godden talked us through Ruby Moon, primarily a sportswear company, their profits are directly used to empower female entrepreneurs in developing countries. Using recycled nylon from abandoned fishing nets, Ruby Moons’ swimwear is more durable and resistant to UV and weather. Working closely with Healthyseas.org to reclaim ocean pollution, Ruby Moon’s garments are created by clean, local and transparent manufacturing.
Last but certainly not least, Sophia Wyatt asked, why buy, when you can borrow? Sophia’s business, Library of Things, utilises communities to share both useful and playful ‘things’, spreading the wealth, familiarising people with their neighbourhoods and passing on skills from person to person. Inspired by her days at university noticing that several of her friends would end up with multiples of the same item, Sophia decided that having single items shared amongst multiple people was a much more efficient and affordable way of using tools and equipment, thus, Library of Things was born. Funded by communities the project is both practical and helps to rebuild camaraderie lost within communities in the internet age.
There was a strong underlying message throughout the day that all of the projects shown either were, or had potential to be financially lucrative real-world applications. This message helps to eradicate the idea that there’s no money to be made in the ethical production of our goods and services. Whether it’s big brand initiatives or smaller changes within existing systems, taking into account the source of our materials and the impact of our manufacturing on the environment is a powerful and vital step towards the change that we need to see.
Click below to watch a video on the days event which was a part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival 2018: