When Swedish design agency House of Radon were asked by washing machine manufacturer AEG for a concept and marketing campaign, they decided to focus on the most important element of laundry – the clothes, and more specifically, the future of clothing.
The Next Black was their response, a stylish and informative documentary, which looks at the trends, technologies, and innovations that will impact our fashion of the future. The film follows a number of innovative designers who are looking to improve on how the industry operates, opening a dialogue around the areas of waste management, technology and sustainability.
One of the five featured designers in Suzanne Lee, founder of BioCouture, the world’s first bio-creative design agency. Suzanne and her team specialize in natural sustainable materials for use in future consumer products. From microorganisms such as bacteria and algae to cellulose, chitin and protein fibers, they are looking to develop usable and wearable materials so as to empower fashion, luxury and sportswear brands to produce sustainably.
Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia’s environmental consultant Rick Ridgeway discusses climate change and the implications of mass fashion production on the environment. He suggests that fast fashion is caused by the (insatiable) desire in the consumer, ‘And if that’s the case then it is that desire from the consumer that’s driving it and that’s where the change has to come from.’ He goes on to explain how difficult it is to create products that are climate positive and climate neutral but says that it is vital to create products that have the most minimal impact they possibly can on the environment.
Fashion and technology company Studio XO also feature in the film, creating Lady Gaga’s infamous bubble blowing costume. The team is made up of hybrid designers and engineers that work together in a fashion laboratory. Also keen to challenge fast fashion consumption, Studio XO technologies plan ‘to disrupt the way we consume clothing in the next decade.’
On a slightly more sinister note, the documentary narrator highlights how every two years the world uses a Mediterranean Sea’s worth of water to dye textiles for the fashion industry. In many countries, textile production is exhausting local clean water supplies and expelling pollutants into the environment. This distressing situation has inspired textile innovators, the Yeh Group, to develop a radical alternative to the process of water dying textiles, which reduces the water used to dye 1kg of fabric from 150 liters to almost nothing. Yeh Group’s Innovation Director Sophie Mather says of water wastage, ‘We are putting a stake in and saying this is what you have to aspire to, we are not happy with x percent less, we want zero.’
The Next Black is a beautiful executed and informative 47-minute piece and would be enjoyable to anybody with an interest in design, sustainability, nature and the future of fashion.
Watch it here www.houseofradon.com/case-studies/the-next-black
– Erin McClure