Shiva : Source Your Style
Project in collaboration between CERN Idea Square and
MA Service Design program at the Royal College of Art
Team: Becky Miller & Me | Lenght of the project: 3 Months ( October - December 2017 ), Full time
My contribution: Qualitative & quantitative Research| Research synthesizes | System analysis | Rapid prototypes | Design strategy | UX/UI Design | Service video & storytelling
MA Service Design at the Royal College of Art was partnering with The European Organisation of Nuclear Research (CERN), the birthplace of the World Wide Web and the Large Hadron Collider to examine how innovative and disruptive technologies can help address the world’s most intractable challenges, by design.
We were seeking to develop innovative product service systems that can address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals using technologies to emerge from CERN.
We worked with their hub of innovation and their knowledge transfer team at Idea Square to apply design thinking and more specifically service design techniques to create new propositions that can inspire companies, interested governments, and the third sector to exploit groundbreaking technologies to deliver impactful solutions.
Our team explored how CERN's particle detector technology, combined with open APIs, could lead to greater transparency in supply chains and ethical opportunities for the fashion industry - the world’s second most polluting industry (after oil).
We approached the brief using double diamond method during the research phase, we defined a sustainable design opportunity based on insights uncovered in the benchmark study, user researches, expert interviews, and technology trend analysis. Scientists at CERN had a role as the technology expert. We played a part in bringing design thinking to help explore and ideate practical solutions where CERN technology has potential in creating a meaningful impact out of scientific purpose.
Insight#1 : The cycle of fast fashion is driven by the urge to buy cheap clothesand the unawareness of hidden costs in the supply chain
Fast fashion drives the pace of design to move on the catwalk very quickly. Emphasis is on optimizing certain aspects of the supply chain for these trends to be designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively to allow the mainstream consumer to buy current clothing styles at a lower price. This creates adverse ripple effects to the upstream production - from working and health conditions of farmers and garment workers to the toxic environment from the waste of production process. These hidden human and ecological costs have never been revealed in the price tag or rarely put in the criteria of purchasing decision.
Insight#2 : Consumers are influenced by social medias before their retail expereinces.
Often indirectly through fashion bloggers, consumers are influenced on a daily basis, not only how to dress, but also how to spend their life - eating, traveling, etc., which they tend to meld styles they like into their own online identities eventually. Crucially, we realized from interviewing regular fashion shoppers that despite shoppers best intentions, any ethical credentials would be viewed as a bonus rather than a core criterion. The critical decision point in the customer shopping journey is when they are browsing on the trend and design preferences, most often via fashion bloggers on Instagram, rather than an actual retail experience. Hence, solely adding the supply chain information in the price tag will be a miss of the opportunity.
Insight#3 : Many attempts for sustainable fashion have been made around the upstream production, but not in the phase of consumption.
Existing actions for sustainable fashion is tackling the problems in a different stage of the supply chain. From sourcing better materials to forming a coalition for more sustainable growth; most of the solutions are focused on the upstream production and the disposal. Although there were solutions that are creating awareness through the story of the supply chain, they target a very niche group of consumer is already be aware of the environment and social effects. However, there is still a lack of tools to nudge mainstream consumer to value and have more demand for ethical fashion, and, then, have a platform to buy ethical fashion apparel.
Opportunity#1 : An emerging future system
Our research into the current state of ethical fashion revealed an emerging ecosystem of innovation being led by big fashion brands themselves, through the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the Higg Index, which now facilitates sharing of data and best practice on environmental and social standards of more than 10,000 manufacturers globally.
+ Powerful coalitions which has a potential in becoming a massive supply for ethical apparel production.
- Evaluations process involved much paperwork which is manually filled by experts and manufacturers.
- Lack of High index data interpretation for consumer
Opportunity#2 : CERN miniature particle detector
CERN technology has developed particle detectors such as the compact radio-frequency quadrupole (RFQ) linear accelerator technology, which is capable of detecting the particle’s atomic composition by beam bombardment. The release of unique x-ray emitted energy will specify the type of components in the object at a molecular level.
+ Very high sensitivity
+ Mobility with only 2 meters long
+ Keep the quality of the object after the detection process
- Very high cost
- Need experts to interpret the x-ray emitted energy results.
" How to switch demand among shoppers from ‘fast’ to ‘ethical’ fashion and create a ‘ripple effect’ that is passed on all the way down clothing supply chains through retailers, brands, manufacturers and suppliers ? "
We speculated on the future of the fashion industry in the current stakeholder map and asked: “what if we can regenerate an ethical fashion market by creating a demand in the consumer ?”. Apart from awareness, we also aim to provide a tool where the consumer can buy from the ethical apparel brands, as well as, making a stronger coalition between the brand themselves.
Shiva is a virtual fashion blogger who draws on real-time supply chain data in order to match shopper’s style preferences with more ethical and sustainable garments. It is led by big fashion brands who have come together to form the Sustainable Apparel Coalition , and the Higg Index to share best practice and data on environmental and social standards in the supply chain.
We imagine that CERN particle detector technology could enhance the reliability and efficiency of the data behind the Higg Index by monitoring production sites in the real-time and more precise information of waste and contamination in the production process.
How does Shiva work ?
Shiva will inspire and gather followers by blogging on the stories behind the fashion industry but importantly will also offer a convenient, trustworthy alternative source of fashion retail through her AI-powered app.
On a personal level, Shiva learns from the consumers’ Instagram feed to match their likes with clothes that score high on the Higg Index - she’ll even send them personalized wishlists if they’re a bit of a shopaholic.
To help consumer from running out of space in their closet, Shiva will prompt them to seamlessly sell your pre-loved clothes online, from which Shiva might also suggest items for their look too, making reuse a natural part of the shopping cycle.
Inspire followers with her stories and travels, showing them how the latest trends can go hand-in-hand with saving the Planet.
Facebook Messenger and AI to match the follower’s shopping requests to more ethical alternatives; she can also send them personalized wishlists using image-recognition of their instagram likes.
Personal online shopping platform ; connects consumers to ethical brands and pre-worn clothes choices
Connect consumers to the Higg Index through an open API, revealing the true impact of each garment she picks out.
Prompt consumer to resell clothes they bought through the platform every few months. These pre-worn offerings are included alongside new clothes on the platform, and Shiva community members can chat directly before buying from each other.
Shiva at RCA -CERN Symposium & Work In Progress Show 2018
It was inspiring to work in an environment where design and science intersect. My team and I were excited to help CERN Ideas Square explore what their particle detectors could possibly be used for apart from the science purpose. The brief challenged my design ethic to balance social and technology purpose. My team aimed to utilize CERN technology to support the SD‘s goal 12: Responsible production and consumption, in a meaningful way. The strong point of this project is that we try to humanize the pure science technology and make it accessible to the end user along the fashion supply chain. The weak point is it is a very speculative design which needs more feasibility testing and more support in programming to bring it to live. I would like to improve my skill in designing a design process that allows the scientist to take part in creating the solution more than only providing technical information. I think there is a big room for improvement in creating a space and atmosphere for a real co-creation between different disciplinaries.