MA Studies > Fashion communication > Fashion communication alumnus > Fioen van Balgooi

Fioen van Balgooi

Fioen van Balgooi
What is your research (essay) about?
My main question: How can a fashion designer create a different mindset in order to design eco-effective?
The life of a product nowadays is a descending line from the cradle to the grave. Within ecodesign and sustainable design the most important strategy is eco-efficiency. It is about doing more with less. Important terms are; reduce, reuse and recycle. This is a good start, but not the solution. Reduction means you slow down the process, but in the end there will still be waste. Reuse is a nice idea, but if you reuse products that are not meant to be reused you still have toxic chemicals in the end product. Recycling is mostly downcycling. The quality of a material reduces every time you recycle it, because products are melted together. 

Eco-effectiveness is what the C2C concept wants to achieve.

Think about the effects of what you make, for instance the way we use things. Rubber is a toxic material when it leaves little parts in nature, e.g. a car tire wears out or someone walking on rubber shoe soles. But as isolation it does not harm the environment. Eco-effectiveness forces you to make a mind shift towards circular thinking. When a fashion designer is more aware of what the user actually needs, the fashion designer on his turn will be able to provoke a change of perception on users level.
Which findings do you consider most important?
One of the findings is that designers understand the importance of designing in another way, but mostly they are stuck in a way of thinking by which they want to keep working. Thereby it is difficult to get information on how to design environment friendly. And people tend to “quit” when it becomes too difficult, they lose there motivation. Another finding is that companies want to have a “one solution” approach. They see that something works at one place and want to copy it to another. But that is not how it works. You need to look at the effect of that specific solution to the problem at that time and place. Hereby diversity is the key.
Do you currently use the research findings?
Yes, I integrated the research findings in Refinity’s working method. It forms the fundament of my company. During my work I use the question: What is the effect of a design choice on the environment (ecological, economical and social/cultural)? And I try to update the findings with new insights, which I get from reading books, going to lectures, workshops and fairs.
How do you look back at the year at MaHKU?
It was really a year of exploring and devotion. I learned a lot about myself and about the art of communicating. Because when doing a master study you get so deep into the material I sometimes felt the teachers didn’t understand me, because they do not read all the theory I read about my topic. Then I learned; it is all about communicating. When people do not understand you, you have to consider by yourself; how can I explain it in another way? When people are able to communicate (and choose the right words) they can reach a lot.