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The Grass Garment - a journey from before-life to after-life

Julie Heij

When it comes to human-centered design, the transformative consequences that impact nonhumans are not always considered. The fast fashion industry is an example of this. We are often unaware of the journey of our clothing: where do the materials come from? What nonhumans are impacted by humans taking these materials? Where does our clothing end up, and how does that affect nonhumans?

Being aware of, and involved in the before-life and after-life of our designs can help to decenter the human in the design process, and minimalize the negative impact on nonhumans. The Grass Garment is an exploration of how one can listen to and collaborate with grass as a nonhuman co-designer. The project aims to raise awareness and inspire other designers to consider the before- and after-life of their designs. The garment is designed following more-than-human design principles and is made with grass from the Karpendonkse Plas in Eindhoven, grass seeds and water-soluble thread. Therefore, this jacket is designed to have an after-life; it can either be composted, or it can regrow grass and contribute to a greener world.

This project deals with more-than-human concepts and shows how these concepts can be applied. It promotes more-than-human thinking and designing and invites others (both designer and non-designer) to consider the impact of their choices on nonhumans and become aware of the privilege humans have compared to nonhumans.