Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


After successfully completing this course, students should be able to

- understand  and apply a range of approaches and methods in sustainable fashion and textile field (, sustainable and ethical design, green aesthetics, green business thinking, design for sustainable consumption, critical design, design for recycling, EPR Extended producer responsibility)

- argument own decisions based on sustainability

-construct a conceptual design plan based on theoretical studies and her/his own research.


Credits: 10

Schedule: 14.04.2020 - 19.05.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Kirsi Niinimäki

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Kirsi Niinimäki

Contact information for the course (valid 23.03.2020-21.12.2112):

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

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course consists of a serious of lectures, blended learning sessions, an independently completed research assignment, conceptual design work or 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.

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

  • 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 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Participation in online lecturers and sessions (including 80% attendance)


    • Reflection essays

    • Research assignment-WardrobeVoyage

    • Design task

  • 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

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    80 h Virtual teaching

    150h Independent or group work

    5 h Self-evaluation

    35 h Own reflection

  • 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 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

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

    Other materials are provided through MyCourses

  • Applies in this implementation:

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

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    No pre knowledge is required for admission to the course.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption


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