Master Thesis: A Circular Denim Industry

Dec 2019 | Design for Industry, Design for Planet, Master's Projects

Lieke van Raan was an exchange student at AHO from TU Delft in 2018, where she spent a semester learning SOD. See her project from then here. She went back and did her master thesis with honours degree. This was a SOD project investigating one of the big problems regarding sustainability, the textile industry and denom produciton in particular.

The project was done in the Delft University of Technology and the client was the House of Denim Foundation

Scroll over the image to magnify details.


About the project

The fashion industry is a vibrant industry that unfortunately has major negative social and environmental consequences. Cotton cultivation specifically consumes enormous amounts of water and makes use of a lot of chemicals. Due to the fast-fashion industry and our linear ‘take-make-waste’ model, there is a growing demand for and pressure on cotton. On the other hand, the amount of clothes that are discarded and collected in the Netherlands is growing. The growing demand for virgin cotton combined with the enormous amount of discarded textiles asks for a systemic change: to work towards a more circular system. Moving from a linear to a circular fashion industry will make less resources needed at the beginning of the cycle and less discarded textiles incinerated at the end of the cycle: this will result in less environmental impact of the denim industry on our earth.

House of Denim

This project is executed on behalf of House of Denim; a non-profit organisation that wants to work towards a more sustainable, innovative and collaborative denim industry. Since Amsterdam is internationally known as a Denim city, the Dutch government want to strive towards a more circular denim industry in the Netherlands and has involved House of Denim in this development.

Goal: increasing the use of Post-consumer recycled (PCR) cotton in denim production

The Ministry of I&W and House of Denim have defined the first step towards a circular denim industry: increasing the use of Post-consumer recycled (PCR) cotton in denim production. Increasing the use of PCR cotton in denim production is a complex systemic challenge. Designing for this challenge, asks for a systemic and holistic approach to be able to have a deep understanding of the current system and its complexity. Therefore this project is executed with a relatively new design approach: Systems Oriented Design (SOD).