Group Project at Royal College of Art, 2021-2022
Role: Service Designer
adidas NEXT is an innovative learning service that allows consumers to renew their product's life by transforming it themselves. It supports conscious consumers with pathways and means to extend the use and life of their products. Unlike existing services around repair and upcycling in the fashion industry, adidas NEXT provides capabilities and learning tools to the user - making them protagonists than mere spectators.
Urgent calls to reimagine the linear consumption of mass production in fashion.
In the UK itself, more than two tonnes of clothing are bought each minute, globally that is 56 million tonnes each year, and it will be 93 million tonnes by 2030. But only 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled.
The rise in consumption has even got fashion brands worried; many have pledged to tackle this problem by seeking new ways. adidas as a brand wants to reimagine the processes in a new world, no longer dominated by a pattern of ‘take-make-waste’ of products.
Our objective of the research was to discover the problem area and opportunity under the given brief from adidas. With the mix of primary and secondary research methods, we explored mainly to understand adidas, their approaches to sustainable fashion and the consumer.
The methods used under primary research include field research, interviews, and surveys. Especially, interviews through the meeting sessions with adidas Headquater Staff, mainly with Anna and Jeffrey from the innovation team, gave us valuable insights and inspiration. The secondary research involved desk research i.e gathering information from reports and statistics published by adidas and other fashion-related industries.
adidas market position
current sustainability strategies and plans
Explore online & offline stores
Meeting sessions with staff from the innovation team of adidas Headquaters
Statistics and Reports from adidas
Collaborating brands with adidas
Sustainable Fashion Landscape
The need for sustainability in fashion
Emerging actions from the fashion industry
EU and UK regulations
Reports from sustainable fashion organsations
Pain points and desirability on sustainable actions
KEY PROBLEM & INSIGHTS
Consumers’ mind is changing. How about businesses?
The consuming interest of the younger generation has been changing quickly. Young audiences do not just want to buy more clothes but also want the opportunity to create unique pieces, upcycle from their own wardrobes and resell rather than discard. Young people are starting to embrace upcycling and DIY culture alongside the pandemic.
On the other hand, the shift of businesses is slower. Most businesses are still designed based on the linear model, which encourages “take-make-waste”. As a result, consumers are exposed to a flood of advertisements and social media posts that prompt them to buy more.
That gap staggers sustainably-minded consumers, nipping the chances of their “circular” consuming behaviour by the lack of knowledge or accessibility to such action as well as the pressure for consumption. Consequently, sustainable values are not the key drivers of our purchases yet.
How might adidas incentivize consumers to continue a product’s lifecycle, instead of discarding them, by democratizing and streamlining the knowledge and tools they may need?
Our mission is to support future users who will be willing to do things on their own by taking charge to impact the fashion industry over time.
adidas NEXT : Replacing "new" with "next"
Our service, adidas NEXT, is an innovative learning service that allows consumers to renew their product's life by repurposing it by themselves. It supports all conscious consumers with pathways and means to extend the use and life of their products.
Prototyping & Validation
For the service’s sustaianbility, the idea needs to be validated its three values on viability, desirability and feasibility, and the assumptions proven through the experiments can substantiate those values. For this process, our team utilised the hypothesis development template as a planning guide.
This template allowed us to gather, prioritise our assumptions on the concept and develop prototypes for experiments. As a beginning, the gathered assumptions are categorised in three areas, values, users and technology. Then, as we prioritise them by the risks and cruciality, we were able to decide on what and how to deliver the prototypes and synthesise the results back to our values under the three pillars.
As another result of the exercise, we could finalise our concept, the starting point of intervention and strategic plan for a future expansion. When our team proceeded the experiments, we were narrowing down our focus on creating intervention towards the end of the use of the product.
However, our team met the challenges in decision-making that seemed hard to differentiate the values at that moment. Using the template, we dissected two narrowed down concepts and abled to conclude our direction. The appendix G: Hypothesis Development has the written records of the exercise using the template.