Designing Sustainable Clothing Systems

The design for environmentally sustainable textile clothes and its Product-Service Systems


Carlo Vezzoli
Giovanni Maria Conti
Luca Macrì
Martina Motta


The Fashion System is at the center of the international debate as one of the most polluting and most impactful industries on the environment. In the last decade the fashion industry has changed, and is still modifying, its approach, aware of the fact that the attention to the environment can no longer be considered a trend: the entire system needs to find and adopt a methodological approach to the project and to the production of goods and services.
Today all the stakeholders on the supply chain follow a path from upstream to downstream: from the treatment of pollution, to the intervention on the production processes that generate a product, to the redesign of products and/or services to reach the discussion and reorientation of social behavior.
This path shows the need to intervene in design terms and that the growth in responsibility and role of design, requiring reference scenarios, knowledge and new tools.
The book defines the features and scenarios of sustainable development, as well as the evolution of sustainability in research and practice of fashion design, addressing the strategies for the design and development of environmentally sustainable products. The authors describe the Life Cycle Design approach and the strategies and guidelines for integrating environmental requirements into product design for sustainable fashion. They present the so-called Systems of Sustainable Products-Services, namely the most promising scenarios and models to make design for sustainable fashion economically convenient. Finally, they provide a method and related tools to support design for sustainable fashion in the evaluation of the environmental impact of products, with particular emphasis on the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment).
The text is enriched by a full-bodied review of interviews and case studies, with the dual purpose of making the design options clear and of highlighting their specificity for the different design contexts.

Cover image by Francesca Bergamini, Enola Cappellari, Federica Mora, Giorgia Muccini, Pierluca Musso.


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Author Biographies

Carlo Vezzoli

He is Full Professor of Design at the Politecnico di Milano University. For more than 25 years he has been researching and teaching on design for sustainability. He is the head of the research lab LeNSlab Polimi on Design and system Innovation for Sustainability (DIS). He is founder of the Learning Network on Sustainability a worldwide network of nearly 150 Universities covering all continents, with the aim of diffusing design for sustainability with an open access ethos. He wrote several books in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. In 2021 he has been awarded the title of PhD Honoris Causa by the Federal University of Parana, because of his international activities to diffuse design for sustainability.

Giovanni Maria Conti

PhD, Associate Professor, he is currently the Coordinator of Knitwear design Lab – Knitlab of the Fashion Design Degree at the Politecnico di Milano. Founder and Scientific Coordinator of the website/blog, he was executive secretary of Fashion Design Degree at the School of Design of Politecnico di Milano, he is Instituto Italo-Latino Americano – IILA expert collaborator in the Pymes Forum for cooperation projects on textile and fashion. He is Director of the Master in Fashion Direction: Product Sustainability Management at MFI (Milano Fashion Institute consortium) and member of LeNS – International Learning Network on Sustainability.

Luca Macrì

Besides working full time as a Service Designer at Spark Reply, he has been working on Design and System Innovation for Sustainability for more than two years, being Research Fellow and Operative Manager within LeNSlab Polimi, at the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano. As part of LeNS – International Learning Network on Sustainability, he has been managing activities within international multi-partner research project, both in public and privatefunded contexts. He is faculty professor at the Master in Fashion Direction: Product Sustainability Management (Milano Fashion Institute) and author of up-to-date articles and books on System Design for Sustainability.

Martina Motta

PhD in Design, is a post-doc Research Fellow at the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano and member of the faculty of the School of Design of Politecnico di Milano, Fashion Institute of Technology and Milano Fashion Institute. Her research field and main area of competence is the contemporary fashion design with a deepening focus on knitwear design, digital technologies, knitwear for social valorisation. Every activity in each area of interest is pursued with an eye on sustainability, to develop sustainable strategies, approaches and products for knitwear and fashion. She is the Vice-Director of the Master in Fashion Direction: Product Sustainability Management at MFI (Milano Fashion Institute consortium) and member of LeNS – International Learning Network on Sustainability.


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May 16, 2022

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