Designing for the loop scarf

How to design a sustainable eTextile item? To understand that complex idea with all its interconnections I spent some days in Rotterdam last week.

During the V2 eTextile Sweatshop: Designing for the loop led by artists Mika Satomi (Kobakant), Hannah Perner-Wilson (Plusea) and sustainability expert Andreas Köhler (TU Delft), we looked into eco-concious eTextile design.

cards to consider

After inspiring presentations we started with a design brief to design a Sustainable e-textile activity monitor with ambient display.

Having some pre-defined criteria in our hand, we needed to design something that would incorporate: wool shearing as material extraction, knitting as manufacturing mean, train transport, usage of 5 years and would due recyclable when disposed.

My lovely team consisted of Kristi Kuusk (me), Fioen van Balgooi (Refinity), Claire Williams and Haka Son.


Multifunctional knitwear that understands when the wearer is getting cold, and according to the amount of snaps closed releases heat and creates a playful change in the pattern outside.

Design decisions concerning eco-effectiveness:

It must be ready-to-wear knit!

  • to not mix different techniques
  • to avoid some transport between factories
  • to make it in one place
  • un-knit possibility for recycling (As an example un-knit machine by Hedges, I.)

Use of a micro controller!

  • to benefit from the pulsing effect to save power (conductive threads are able to keep warmth quite a while, so they just need some power to heat up)

Use of a rechargeable battery!

  • easy to disassemble and charge

Choice of a multifunctional print showing!

  • care labels (draw attention to proper care and importance of it)
  • branding (avoid polyester labels)
  • heating (to know it’s “ON”)
  • esthetics, rising awareness

Design and prototyping process (Photos by: Kristi & Fioen)