With a basic knowledge of textile value chain, we conducted stakeholder research to uncover the understanding of stakeholders and the textile industry.
Based on the value chain of the textile industry, we identified the relevant stakeholders. The stakeholders were mapped based on the power and transition ability of sustainable thinking they have in the textile industry. As a result, fashion companies that possess higher sustainability awareness, defined based on the yearly sustainability report provided from the companies, are the key players in the textile industry and are defined as the primary stakeholders in our project.
Based on the stakeholder map, we decided to conduct expert consultations with fashion companies as our primary stakeholders. At the same time, we also took secondary stakeholders - including a naturally dyed textile studio, local residents of textile manufacturing area, and textile manufacturing factories - into consideration. Through stakeholder interviews, we aimed to understand the situation of the textile industry better and uncover deep pains, gains, and desires of stakeholders.
Fig 3. Stakeholders mapping based on power and transition.
Fig 4. Stakeholders mapping.
In order to uncover deep insights to build a solid basement for innovative product design direction, we conducted stakeholder research through structured and thematic interviews.
An interview is a conversation where questions are asked to obtain information and learn from the stakeholders. In design research, interviews usually take place in the context of the user. We used both structured and thematic forms in our interviews. In structured interviews, the questions posed by the interviewer are created and followed through the process. On the other hand, we also did thematic interviews and let the discussion flow more freely with the interviewees delivering interesting opinions.
Primary stakeholder - fashion companies with higher environmental awareness
- Pure Waste
- A naturally dyed textile studio, Osem
- Local residents of a textile manufacturing area
- A textile manufacturing factory in Bangladesh
Stakeholder Research Data Analysis Approach
After collecting the data from the interviews and expert consultations, the data were evaluated into knowledge, based on affinity mapping, to understand the pains, gains, and desires in the textile industry. Opportunity questions were further brainstormed to solve the problems.
Fig 5 & 6. Stakeholder research data analysis approach.
Findings of Stakeholder Research
Based on the information that we collected from the interviews and expert consultations, we found out that overall, the mindset of stakeholders in the textile industry is conservative due to the profit-oriented business, no matter the manufacturing factories or fashion companies. Therefore, the environmental pollution, especially the water pollution stemming from the textile dyeing process can’t be avoided. Local people need to purify water with alum before drinking, and sometimes it doesn't help if the water is completely polluted. If basic needs are not fulfilled, how would the local people living in the textile manufacturing area dream of bigger dreams?
On the other hand, when fashion design companies with higher environmental awareness step in to improve the textile industry, including the labor rights, the safety of the working environment, and the environment-friendliness of the manufacturing process, they also face challenges between profits and environmental protection. Moreover, the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulation of manufacturing factories by fashion companies is relatively low due to the remote monitoring.
Furthermore, the raw material production is also a water-consuming and land-harming process. Nowadays, growing organic materials is a trend to protect nature; however, it makes the fabrics become really expensive.
Fig 7, 8, 9 & 10 Interviews with different stakeholders.
Fig 11. Interview quotes.
Insights of Stakeholder Research
According to our findings, there are three main pain points in the textile industry. The first one is the serious impact of water pollution on the lives of the people living near industrial areas. 10–50% of dyes are released into the environment because of the inefficiency of the dyeing process and because the dyes are resistant to wastewater treatments. The dyes also persist in the environment for a long time, as they are slow to degrade in nature. The second is the low visible improvement in raw material production and the unethical process of silk extrusion from cocoons. The third is the low efficiency and effectiveness of the remote regulation of textile manufacturing factories by fashion companies. To provide gain-creators and pain-relievers, we created a value proposition to solve the problems that we found from the stakeholder research.
Fig 12 & 13. Insights of the stakeholder research.
A value proposition is a promise of delivering value to customers by providing gain-creators and pain-relievers. SILKOLOR is here to provide them based on the insights from the stakeholder research. SILKOLOR is an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient way of producing dyed silk fibers, which speeds up the transition of a brand to sustainable actions and further promotes visible contribution and brand reputation. Moreover, thanks to the local self-sufficiency of the manufacturing process of colored fibers, SILKOLOR helps fashion companies build transparency and well-regulation in the supply chain.
Fig 14. The value proposition of SILKOLOR.