Sustainable Textile Design

Hochschule Niederrhein. Your way.

Sustainable Textile Design

by Prof. Ellen Bendt and Prof. Dr. Marina-Elena Wachs, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences - Faculty of Textile and Clothing Technology

The relevance of sustainability has a long tradition at our university, especially at the faculty of Textile and Clothing Technology. Many studies, research and final theses in all Bachelor and Master degree programs of the textile-influenced faculty deal with this topic from the particular point of view of the textile and clothing industry.

It was almost self-evident that in 2013, a selection of multi-dimensional exhibits from these many outstanding design solutions in the areas of fashion design, textile design, product design, interior design and entrepreneurship design will be presented for discussion.

The references that the department was able to look back on in this project are shown in this  selection:

Prof. Dr. In 2010, Wachs held an interdisciplinary speech in the faculty of design on "green design, greenwashing and sustainability in design", followed by a first “sustainability day" in 2011, in which students from different degree programs of the faculty of textile and clothing technology seized the opportunity to develop interdisciplinary "green solutions for textiles" for a healthy living together during workshops and to discuss them with guest speakers. Prof. Bendt let students develop sustainably recycled lamps within the seminar "Innovative Product Design". Together, the professors supervised the project "wool school 2012" within the context of the "Campaign for wool", which supports the sustainable use of fairly produced and traded sheep's wool and stands under the patronage of His Royal Majesty the Prince of Wales. During the International Wool Week 2012, the results of the "wool school" project "Knitted wool Couture" did not only arouse great interest at the Marc Cain Store in Düsseldorf, where a selection of outfits was shown.

In addition to that, Prof. Dr. habil Voller organized the “second sustainability day" at the faculty 07 in November 2012 with guest speakers contributing to the topic from different perspectives of the textile industry. Prof. Dr. Voller is a member of the Competence Center EthNa, which was newly founded at the university. The foundation of the Competence Centre is the result of the project assignment for the HN-structure project "CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and Ethics: Ethical entrepreneurial action in the conflict area between customer expectations and supply chain management".

The exhibition "Sustainable Textile Design" was created in cooperation with the Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia with representation at the federal government in Berlin and in cooperation of the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, faculty of Textile and Clothing Technology in Mönchengladbach with the degree program Spatial Concept and Design of the Akademy for Fashion & Design Hamburg (Akademie Mode & Design Hamburg), who created exhibition concepts for the textile exhibits.

The aim of the project was to present different perspectives, concepts and sketches on the subject of sustainability that were developed, designed, researched and implemented by students of the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences and to point out textile perspectives of the future through creativity and innovative thinking. In addition to classic fashion and textile design, the project was also about design management concepts, product and interior design.

The exhibition received a lot of attention during the evening event on 14.01.13 at the NRW Representation in Berlin, especially from the specialist audience in the areas design, textile history, the private economy and also from political representatives.
The evening started off already with a sensitive opening by the Klenke Quartet and the clarinetist Dr. Clemens Trautmann as a synthesis of sound, textiles and textures.
This was followed by clear words from Minister Dr. Ing. Schwall-Düren, who affirmed:

"The project "Sustainable Textile Design" corresponds to the political goal of the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia: to support science that abandons traditional path, defines ambitious new goals and, moreover, offers ecologically, economically and socially fair solutions for everyday life."
(Welcoming words of Mrs. Dr. Schwall-Düren on 14.01.13, Berlin).

The exhibition "Sustainable Textile Design" will be made available to the public in Mönchengladbach on the campus fair of the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences: "MG zieht an 2013" on 23 and 24 May 2013.


Regarding the publication “Sutstainable Textile Design" we would like to point out once again that it does not only document the designs of the future as a >state of the art< of "Sustainable Textile Design". Moreover, a large body of authors enriches the topic from different perspectives in German and English, from the point of view of fashion design in particular with regard to knitwear (Ellen Bendt), design theory (Dr. Marina-E. Wachs), textile history (Dr. Karl B. Murr), sustainable fashion economics (Dr. Susanne Müller) and exhibition design (Elke Jensen).

  • "The corpus of a textile structure, whether made of threads, textures, tones or word structures - it is an expression of the emotional feelings of the designers"
    (Wax / Bendt, 2013)

We would like to thank the representation of North Rhine-Westphalia at the federal government and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for their support by giving us a platform to discuss sustainable textile design solutions from different perspectives with representatives from business and culture as well as with the target population.

We would like to thank the main sponsors who support and facilitate this exhibition at various locations: Marc Cain GmbH, Woolmark International Pty Ltd., Tuchfabrik Willy-Schmitz GmbH & Co KG, H. Stoll GmbH & Co.KG, Yuson – bridging ideas, Textil-Recycling K. & A. Wenkhaus GmbH, Hephata mbH and the DMI – Deutsches Mode Institut as well as the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, in particular the faculty of Textile and Clothing Technology and the AMD – Akademie Mode & Design.