Addressing the Dialogue between Design, Sorting and Recycling in a Circular Economy

Essi Karell*, Kirsi Niinimäki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
107 Downloads (Pure)


What kinds of implications does 'design for recycling' have for the designer's role and practice in the context of textiles and fashion? In this paper, we approach this question by discussing the problem of low textile recycling rates alongside a disconnection between clothing design and textile recycling. Qualitative interviews with design, sorting and recycling experts were conducted to gather insights into the challenges and requirements of closed-loop recycling. The research findings underline the importance of an active dialogue between these stakeholder groups, which calls for novel ways of sharing knowledge of the latest advancements in sorting and recycling technologies. In addition, the study brings forth the priority order of design considerations and proposes 'design for sorting' as a new strategy for textile circularity. The paper contributes to the ongoing discussion on design practice in a circular fashion system and the required changes in the mind-set of the entire industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1013
Number of pages17
JournalDesign Journal
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational European Academy of Design Conference: Running with Scissors - University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019
Conference number: 12


  • Circular economy
  • Clothing design
  • Design for recycling
  • Textile recycling
  • Textile sorting


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