Tag by Maxwell Ashford

In Tag, Maxwell Ashford addresses the issue of transparency in environmental practices. The mounting pressure on the industry to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability has seen the emergence of ‘greenwashing’, which misleads consumers and stakeholders into mistakenly believing they are making environmentally responsible choices. Against this background, Tag looks at the credentials of a range of materials and the way they are presented.

The project makes use of 11 Kvadrat fabrics, each with different characteristics in terms of its environmental impact: some address water reduction and utilise dry processing; some employ post-consumer feedstocks to create truly recycled materials; others are more durable for outdoor use and fulfil more stringent demands. These 10 fabrics have been made into tote bags, each with a label that details their environmental credentials through LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) data.

A common sight at trade fairs and exhibitions, tote bags were chosen to give viewers a relatable item through which to understand this information. The labels attached to each bag reference standard garment tags, with the implication that providing LCA information ought to be a standard requirement.

On the front of each label, two clear figures are presented: CO2eq, a unit of measure for emissions from greenhouse gases; and Eco-Cost, a figure representing the financial cost to the environment. The clear communication of each fabric’s environmental impact highlights Kvadrat’s work in developing more ecological fabrics and allows for comparison between the variants – and thus a better understanding of the real impact and a base point to compare with other goods.

Some 100 bags have been produced for the exhibition. They can be acquired by donating a stated ‘price’, via a QR code on the labels, to Cool Earth, an NGO that backs rainforest communities people to act against deforestation and fight climate change. The ‘price’ of each bag is calculated by a formula: (eco-cost x 8) = price.

Ashford comments: “I hope this project contributes to the topic of sustainability by encouraging communication through transparency and pushing the development of ecologically adaptive materials that can benefit everyone.

Maxwell Ashford

Maxwell Ashford is a young British designer living in Switzerland who is fast emerging as a name to watch. His practice revolves around the ecological impact that accompanies the production and consumption of objects, centring on sustainable innovation.

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