The Dutch have done it again! Created an interactive gaming and shopping experience that teaches you about sustainable fashion at the same time. Diet plan. Check. Career Path laid out. Check. Sustainable plan for purchasing clothes this year? Uhm. New York’s innovative organization Local Projects which has created interactive exhibitions for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as well as Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum has teamed up with Dutch organization Fashion for Good to create the “first interactive museum for sustainable innovation.” The 40,000 square foot space which opened this month has created a new kind of museum experience that takes visitors on a gaming, learning, group storytelling and community building Good Fashion Journey. Shop your heart out while feeling good about yourself and walk away informed with a customized plan for how you can keep those good vibes going by living more sustainably after you leave.
Visitors start outside with the Infinity Mirror, an exhibit made of multi-colored Econyl (recycled nylon from landfills and oceans from Italian mill Aquafil), then invites you to step into the Good Photo Booth, take a Selfie and join the Impact Cascade, an artistic visualization of the collective impact generated by the Fashion for Good community. The screen shares the commitments of fellow visitors, innovators and influencers who have joined the Fashion for Good movement. Instead of a static, one-time experience that fades quickly from memory, visitors can see moment to moment how their actions have impact. It’s the kind of immediate gratification at its best and most altruistic.
Continuing the Journey for Good, visitors are invited to shop by first adorning themselves with an Action Bracelet which takes them on a combination gaming and shopping experience. The bracelet records your behaviors as you play and assists with helping to create your very own Custom Action Plan that’s designed to make your life more sustainable and beautiful. While you shop you can stop and enter the Design Studio and make your own customized tee shirt choosing from one of 144 design possibilities. As you design, bold text, illustrations and tactile elements invite you into the 8 step process of designing, making and selling a cotton/polyester tee shirt. Result? Walk away with a sense of ownership from participating in the design process, safe in the knowledge that this new addition to your wardrobe is made of 100% Cradle to Cradle GOLD Certified materials and practices and empowered by knowledge. For those who love to shop, there’s more. Finish up at the Good Shop, the next generation in retail where you can learn how to add social and environmental considerations and questions into your shopping activities.
Shopping aside, other highlights of the museum include the Good Fashion Journey, a graphic timeline which outlines the history of the fashion industry from the 1700’s and pivotal positive moments from labor rights innovations to environmental. Learn about brands leading the way towards good fashion through a rotating spotlight on companies that changes to fit new themes every three months. These carefully curated collections focus on thought-provoking themes such as the current collection called “Splash: Rethinking the Role of Water in Fashion.” Water seems to be on everyone’s minds these days from the shocking prediction that by 2050 there will be as many pieces of plastic as fish in the oceans to the fact that the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water every year, a whopping 4 percent of all global freshwater used annually. There are also products from Adidas x Parley, Kings of Indigo, Ecoalf, Insane in the Rain, Karün and Ms. Bay.
In the words of Jake Barton, founder of Local Projects “Fashion for Good is special because it’s a much larger endeavor that is really trying to knit together all of these disparate parts of sustainability in fashion and apparel industries into one circular approach. This Fashion for Good experience, which is on three different floors, is for the general public but it also engages industry and consumer behaviors. There is also a section of the building that is just dealing with start-ups, technology providers that are interested in incubating approaches, which through industry contacts are floated up through the larger apparel industry.” “It’s not just about what you buy, but how often you buy and how you wash, how you care for your clothes, how you advocate for sustainable policies or engage with different parts of the apparel and fashion industries.”
The 40,000 square foot Museum for Good couldn’t be more perfectly timed or ahead of the curve. One of the things that shines a bright light of hope these days is the surge of caring that is sweeping the world. Hopefully it will serve as a blueprint not just for other museums internationally, but for retailers who want to create more awareness and emotional connection to their customers by setting similar retail spaces that combine gaming, learning and fun together with shopping. They would be smart to do so as the sustainability movement is becoming a wave.
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