Credits: 10

Schedule: 14.04.2020 - 19.05.2020

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

In spring 2020 teaching will happen through MyCourses website (online teaching).

Teaching Period (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Learning Outcomes (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

The student learns to understand a range of approaches and methods in sustainable fashion and textile field. S/he becomes familiar with different viewpoints of sustainability like eco-design, sustainable and ethical design, green aesthetics, green business thinking, design for sustainable consumption, critical design and design for recycling and EPR in fashion and textile context.

The student gets introduction and hands-on experience to applying some of sustainable design method in her/his own creative work. The student is able to construct a conceptual design plan based on theoretical studies and her/his own research and implement this concept as creative fashion or textile design case or prototype.

The students earn theoretical foundation for their own creative practice and are encouraged to use their creative design skills for problem solving.


Content (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

The course consists of a serious of lectures, blended learning sessions, an independently completed research assignment, conceptual design work and creative practice-based design part. Each student chooses and constructs own approach to sustainability and applies some research method to collect information as a background for creative work. Based on collected material and data, conceptual design is constructed and implemented in creative hands-on design work.

  • Orientation for holistic and closed loop thinking
  • Supporting own creative design process with theoretical support
  • Basic research skills
  • Creative design work

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

Welcome to MUO-E1043
Sustainable Fashion and Textile Design! This course will introduce students to the
rapidly growing field of sustainable fashion and textile design. It is widely
recognized that the garment and textile industry is one of the most polluting
industrial sectors in the world. Over the years, the garment industry has
contributed to the creation of a take-make-waste production and consumption
system. In this paradigm, rising consumer demands coming from the global North are
often met at the expense of various human, animal and environmental rights
violations. Most notably, irresponsible and unethical production practices have
continued to be an everyday reality for garment workers in the global South.
However, with the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh in
2014, demands for a fairer and more ethical textile industry have rapidly surfaced.
This has resulted in increased pressure on businesses, designers, consumers and
policymakers alike to alter their practices.

With that
background, this course will explore the role of sustainability in the field of
fashion and textile design. We will begin with an introduction to the historical
roots of the concept of sustainable development. Thereafter, students will be
introduced to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2020. We will then
examine the SDGs that hold specific relevance to the fashion and textile sector.
Followed by an exploration of the response of the fashion and textile industry to
the SDGs by investigating various design strategies within sustainability such
as: ethical design, design for new materials, green business thinking, design
for circularity, eco-labelling and green marketing, green aesthetics, design
for sustainable consumption and empathic design  Each of these design concepts/practices will
be critically examined in order to better understand and address what it means
to be a fashion and textile designer in such troubling times. Students will be
familiarized with existing sustainable fashion brands and through critical
engagement of real-life company cases links between practice and theoretical
concepts will be made.

Due to the exceptional
situation this year in Finland (and globally) the course will be using online
teaching and online student group activity sessions. This means that online
will take place every Tuesday and Thursday morning between 9.15
am-12 noon
. Whereas, the online grouptasks will take place
in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 13.00-17:00. Please
make sure you will reserve these days for online learning. You also need 2 more
days weekly to do tasks and readings needed for this course.

For online teaching (Tuesdays and Thursday morning): We will use a mix of pre-recorded
videos using Panopto and real-time lecturing using Zoom. The pre-recorded
videos will be uploaded on my courses. For real-time lectures, Zoom will be
used. A link will be shared with the students before each session every time
Zoom is used. Students simply have to click on the link and they can virtually
participate in the lecture. Zoom lectures will take the form of a Webinar. This
means that after the lecture, students will have the chance to ask questions
using the chat menu or through plugging in their microphones.

For online group tasks (Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons): Every Tuesday afternoons students
will be divided into pre-assigned groups and will be given a task. This task
will be a question that each group will be expected to discuss and reflect on.
The groups will consist of 4-5 members and will be asked to arrange online
meetings using Skype (or zoom) to work on their tasks. Before the end of the
day one of the group members will take on the responsibility to post a summary
of their reflections on Group Forum page on my courses.

On Thursday afternoon students will work individually. A question will
be posted on the Forum page every Thursday that each student will have to
individually answer. 

It is
crucial students check their emails regularly for Zoom link invites so that
they can attend the online lectures.

In between contact
teaching, students will also work on various assignments. These written
will include:

1.       Reflection essays: Every week students will write a
short reflection essay on the readings and lectures of that week.

2.       One wardrobe voyage task. Detailed guidelines this will be
given later.

3.       One final essay: Students will write a 5 page essay
on a topic of their choice. Detailed guidelines this will be given later.

Assessment Methods and Criteria (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Evaluation: Research assignment. Design work. Participating in lectures and tutoring sessions. Assessment methods and criteria:

1. Lectures, blended learning sessions (80% participation) and tasks

2. Design exercises, documenting and reporting

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

Following are detailed instructions for the course evaluation in spring 2020

will be graded on the grading scale 0-5. The grade breakdown is given below:

1.       Class attendance (80% attendance is
expected)-10 % of grade

2.       Online group discussion-20 % of

3.       3 reflection essays-30% of grade

4.       Research assignment-Wardrobe
Voyage-10% of grade

5.       Final written essay-30 % of grade

Workload (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

60 h Lectures/Virtual teaching  

130h ndependent or group work 90h

40 h Creative design part

5 h Self-evaluation

35 h Own reflection

Details on calculating the workload (applies in this implementation): 

in spring 2020

workload for the course is divided in terms of hours. Breakdown of the hours is
given below:

1.       60 h Lectures/Virtual teaching 

2.       170h independent and group work

3.       5 h Self-evaluation

4.       45 h Own reflection

Study Material (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Niinimäki, K. (Ed.) (2014) Sustainable Fashion: New Approaches. Helsinki: Aalto ARTS Books. ISBN: 978-952-5572-5

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

comprehensive reading list + video materials + links will be provided to the students through MyCourses.

Prerequisites (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

No pre knowledge is required for admission to the course.

Grading Scale (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Registration for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

In WebOodi

Further Information (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Part of the course will be blended learning

This course is for master students. Max 25 students

1st priority: Master’s degree students of Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design programme, in the order or registration

2nd priority: Other Master’s degree students of the Design department

3rd priority: Other Master’s Students of Aalto University


Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 


Time and Place







1.       Introduction to the course, topics and






2.       Exploring the relationship between the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and garment industry: overview of the
supply chain






3.       Design strategies for sustainable
fashion and textile






4.       Who’s responsible: ethics, fashion and
ethical design






5.      Environmental impacts of materials

Material realities: exploring new






6.       Challenging business models: green
business thinking & product-service systems






7.       Design for circularity: towards closing
the loop?






8.       Green marketing or green washing:
eco-labels and green aesthetics






9.       What about consumers:  grass-roots environmental movements






10.    Can change be designed: exploring
empathic design

Short student






11.    Short student presentations

Reflections and



Registration and further information