There are a number of things that I believe are of equal importance when designing a garment. My usual work flow begins with these questions:
Where is the fabric coming from? Is it healthy to wear and sustainable?
How does the product work? What are its functions?
What happens with this garment at the end of it's life?
Is the construction of the product efficient and comfortable?
Have elements been added that do not add functional value to the product but adds design value?
What's the pilling tendency and dimensional change of the fabric?
What is the color fastness to washing and perspiration?
But today I am going to go into more detail with these ones...
It should all begin at an early stage, when deciding where you get your fabric from, how is it produced, in short: a healthy supply-chain. It is a good idea to follow the trace back to the fiber origin, see if it comes from a renewable resource or not, how does the process affect the environment, and what chemicals are used (they will further affect the user's skin). When it comes to the fabric that I am going to use I can tell you this: it is based on a sustainable and renewable resource, non-toxic organic solvents are used and the process of producing the fiber is a closed-loop one, that means that more than 99% of the solvent is recovered and reused. This means that it is extremely healthy to wear and very healthy for the environment as well (you can't get more sustainable than that :).
The next part is where you start making the designs. Here I think about comfort, usefulness, versatility and timeless styles. It is here that I also think about the product life-cycle of the garment, from start until the very end. Does it become waste or does it become nutrient for the soil? Design for disassembly is quite a new term in the industry but if you want to take care of everyone, not just the wearer, then you have to see the bigger picture and clean after yourself.
For me quality is divided into 4 categories: material quality; manufacturing and accessory quality,functional quality and value quality. I will always consider all of them in respect of the user, nature and my beliefs. After all, it's the details that matter.
We are coming to an end with the design principles. Make sure to catch the last one next week as well, it is as valuable as the others. As always, Form Follows Feeling.