What it is and how it has evolved? Which materials and production processes does it involve? All are discussed in the book by Anna Paola Pascuzzi
The well-being of people and the planet involves an evolution-revolution of how to conceive of the product and its circularity which sees eco-design at the centre, a topic explored by Anna Paola Pascuzzi, researcher and professor at the Sapienza University of Rome and at the Academy of Luxury in Milan, footwear designer and product manager, in her book Eco-design for fashion footwear. Methodologies and materials. Eco-design – indicated by the EU Strategy for sustainable and circular textile products as a design and production methodology to be applied by 2030 – because sustainability enters every step of the supply chain, from raw materials, to saving water and energy, to the durability of the product, and its end of life. This also involves an awareness of the materials to be used, being careful not to fall into the traps of green washing and false communication, as the author explains in the introduction. Hence, it is necessary to clarify what eco-design consists of: “it means adopting new design principles, including the study of the entire life cycle of the product, implying the choice of materials which must be ecological, non-toxic, reusable and recyclable. It means rethinking products to make them profitable, eliminating unnecessary and risky elements for the environment and redesigning their functionality”.
The second chapter investigates how eco-design is part of slow fashion, a movement born in the wake of Slow Food, which brings humanity back into harmony with nature, recovering the relationship with local culture and realities.
In the next chapter topics such as the materials to be preferred and those to be excluded, the methodology of modularity, linked to the ease of assembly and disassembly of the products, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which helps designers in their ecological choices through the recycling of unused materials from past collections, and how to reduce the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). The fifth chapter is dedicated to the Product Life Cycle (PLC) and how the product interacts with the environment; the author focuses on upcycling and the PSS (Product Service System). The sixth chapter outlines the impact of eco-design on the role not only of the designer, who must be increasingly connected with the supply chain, but also of final consumers, “true proponents of significant changes and those responsible for the life of the products”.
The final part of the book is dedicated to research done online, on the official sales sites of brands such as Armani, Tod’s Gucci, Prada, Casadei Sergio Rossi, Giuseppe Zanotti and others, to understand how and how much has been done in terms of sustainability in the footwear of these brands, analysing materials and processes of those products sold as “eco”. To arrive at the conclusion that on the sales sites of the high-end brands studied there are few examples of footwear with sustainable elements. The road to sustainability is still long!