Creativity at work and sustainable product development: practitioner perspectives from the clothing industry

Goworek, H., Oxborrow, L. ORCID: 0000-0003-2795-8131, McLaren, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-9909-5403, Claxton, S., Cooper, T. ORCID: 0000-0001-8623-2918 and Hill, H., 2018. Creativity at work and sustainable product development: practitioner perspectives from the clothing industry. In: L. Martin and N. Wilson, eds., The Palgrave handbook of creativity at work. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 563-582. ISBN 9783319773506

11677_Oxborrow.pdf - Post-print

Download (412kB) | Preview


This chapter addresses creativity in the context of product development within the creative industries, incorporating an example from the clothing industry. In relation to creativity and product development, designers are supported by many other actors, such as technologists, engineers and buyers, who are also creative in their own right. We begin by exploring creativity at work, which we consider to encompass idea generation comprising creative problem-solving, moving beyond product ideas to service and commercial concepts. Product (or service) development, improvement and practical process adaptation are amongst the various tangible aspects of creativity which can be managed, whereas other aspects of creativity such as creative thought processes are less tangible and consequently less manageable. In the clothing sector the temporal, financial and technical parameters of creativity at work are set for designers by other functions within their own organisation and from their clients and suppliers, subject to conflicting commercial demands. Sustainable design through clothing longevity appears at odds with the priorities of the prevailing ‘fast fashion’ business model. Challenging issues such as sustainability and longevity require innovative solutions and the creative thought processes used by designers could be central to improving sustainability within the fashion industry.

To demonstrate how creativity at work can operate in practice, we present a case that investigates the implementation of creative idea generation, within the boundaries of sustainable product development in the context of the clothing industry. This research aimed to reveal barriers, enablers, knowledge, processes, infrastructure and consumer views that support wider adoption of practices that can facilitate product longevity. We adopted a mixed methodology, including semi-structured interviews and round-table discussions with garment industry stakeholders from a range of roles in fashion retail, the supply chain and academia, to debate specific themes concerned with supplying clothing that lasts for longer. Subsequently, pilot interventions highlighted the factors that, in practice, promote and inhibit improved clothing longevity.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Goworek, H., Oxborrow, L., McLaren, A., Claxton, S., Cooper, T. and Hill, H.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Place of Publication: Cham, Switzerland
Date: 2018
ISBN: 9783319773506
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Aug 2018 09:03
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:03

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year