User research and observations

The C40 is a network of cities around the world committed to addressing climate change. We were approached by the Tel Aviv Municipality, who is a member of that network to map the industrial textile sector in the urban context. 

 

Research question

How much pre-consumer textile waste is there in Tel Aviv?

 

Motivation  

Identifying key challenges and opportunities for developing and integrating circular economical initiatives within the urban context.

Overview

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Data visualization, report design

Research methodology

We conducted a material flow analysis and market research which included a literature review, scanning online resources and articles, 40 on-site interviews. Data extracted from these interviews included both qualitative and quantitive data sets spanning from mapping materials quantities and properties, specifications regarding sub-sectors within the textile industry, manufacturing processes, supply chains and distribution patterns.

Textiles production and distribution flow

1  | Gaps in industry specific knowledge

The municipality looked at textiles as one stream of material - so while they did have information about the quantities of textiles that end up in landfills, they did not know what were their properties - whether it came from natural or synthetic fibers; whether they were woven, knitted, or non woven. These were important factors, as each material and process affects the ability to refurbish, reuse or remanufacture a material.

2  | Gaps in material stream flows

Most of fabric production that are used by the local industry is done overseas. For this reason, most of the processes in this survey involved sewing, embroidery, or upholstery, representing later stages in the production.

While most of the fashion studios that were mapped in this survey are locate in the city, their products are not produced within the city and sometimes not produced in Israel at all. This makes it difficult to accurately measure textile waste quantities. 

3  | Gaps in syntax

While dump sites in Israel measure textiles by Tons, fabric suppliers, designers and studios measure fabrics by Running Meters. 

4  | Gaps in trust

The local textile industry in Israel is quite small and is competing for the same space and resources with large real estate businesses. 10 companies we approached were actually in the process of closing down and their sites were in the process of converting into luxury apartments.

 

Additionally, the sector consists mostly of blue collar workers, who while being interviewed, continued to actively move supplies around, and work on their craft.

Challenges

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Forming trust through Speculative visualizations

We took 2 main steps in order to form trust -

1 | Public speaking

I gave a talk at a local textile meet up at the city, sponsored by H&M. I used this opportunity  to explain to the local textile community what were the research motivations and created speculative visualisations, showcasing what data we were going to collect and how will it be processed and used in later stages. 

 

2 | Humen-driven interview sessions

Before starting every interview session, we made sure all the participants knew all the data collected was immediately anonymised. 

Additionally, we constructed open end questions and observations and filled out the questioners only once each interview session was over. 

Research planning

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In general, we found there is a limited amount of resources and a small number of manufacturers within the city, which demonstrate a small local market with key stakeholders who engage with one-another on a daily basis, generally producing minimal amounts of pre-consumer textile leftovers.

In particular, we found that textile consumption is higher within the fashion sub-sector than it is in the interior textile sub sector.

 

Additionally, while the research shows that textiles from both material groups are used in both the Interior textiles sector and in the fashion & accessories sector, natural fibers were more commonly used within the interiors sub-sector than they were by the fashion sub- sector. Some materials were only used in one sub-sector, like polyester which was only recorded for interior textiles, while wool, polyamide & Lycra, and Nylon & Spandex were only recorded in the fashion sector.

Contact me If you would like to read the full report or learn more about this project.

Key findings

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Textile Flows

A material flow analysis and market research focusing on pre-consumer textile waste in Tel Aviv, Israel

Client

TLV municipality x CIRTex

Talks

Fashion Meets Circular Economy: Pre-consumer Textile Waste meets Circular Economy, TAU, September 2018

Exhibitions

Textile flows, The Tel Aviv Crafts and Design Biennale, MUSA, the Eretz Israel Museum, 2021

2018

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My role

Project management

Principle researcher

Data analysis 

Data visualisation

Report writing & design 

Team (pollsters)

Tal Segre, Yarden Levy, Tal Fisher, Tamar Eisenberg, Nimrod Jack Eliez