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Designing for Sustainable Manufacturing

Designing for Sustainable Manufacturing Tara St James

Join us Friday, April 26th for an exclusive interactive workshop examining the complete lifecycle of a garment by analyzing its supply chain. Discover sustainable alternatives for every aspect of the manufacturing process by considering questions such as:

  • Are we failing at incorporating sustainability into product design and innovation? Why is it so hard?

  • What are some of the ways that other designers incorporate sustainability into their models? What role do designers/product developers have in your company and how influential are they in reducing product impacts? What good practices are you seeing in the marketplace? What is your approach to sustainable design? 

  • Why should companies incorporate sustainability / circularity to product design? What are the benefits? What have been the pay-backs?

  • Do sustainability practitioners and designers speak the same language? How do we bridge the gaps? How can we better educate designers as change-makers?

Following the discussion, participants will dissect product in small groups, answering the following questions:

  • What can't be changed about this product - what makes it iconic design wise? (Considering shape, material, construction, detail, brand, cost e.t.c)

  • What can be changed and does a designer have the power to specify that change? Consider ecological (what it's made from), technological (how it's made), social (who it's made by and where) economic (can the value of this product be more fairly/differently distributed?

  • What would a sustainable re-design of this product look like?

Whether you're just starting out or have an established brand you’ll leave this workshop with a plethora of knowledge and tons of new ideas to help you develop and build your brand with sustainability and mindfulness at its core.


Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Tara St James moved to New York City in 2004. She now calls Brooklyn home. St James graduated in 1997 from LaSalle College School of Fashion Design in Montreal, one of Canada’s top design programs, with a degree in menswear tailoring. Prior to graduation she spent a year studying French art & literature in Toulouse, France. 

After 10 years designing mens and womenswear in both Canada and the US, Tara launched the New York based label Study NY. Conceptual design & sustainability define this women's RTW brand. Study cuts & sews collections in NYC’s garment district using both ethical fabrics and production methods. Many elements from the collections collaborate with artisans around the world; for example, locally sourced Peruvian alpaca is used in much of the knitwear.

Shortly after starting Study NY, Tara focused on educating the next generation of designers on the importance of sustainability in design. She has extensive lecturing and teaching experience in NYC.  Some of the courses Tara has taught as a part of FIT‘s Sustainability Certificate include: Corporate Social Responsibility, Supply Chain, and Sustainable Materials & Eco Labels. She has also critiqued and lectured at Parsons, Pratt and FIT. Currently Tara is working as Production Coordinator and Research Fellow in the Sustainable Strategies Lab for Pratt’s new Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator

In 2011 Study NY was awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Grant for sustainable design. In 2013 St James's Anti-[fashion]-Calendar was named one of Sustainia100 Solutions for Sustainability--a global initiative spearheaded by Arnold Schwarznegger to promote innovative global solutions across all industries. In 2014 Study was awarded runner up in the CFDA / Lexus Eco Fashion Challenge

Tara St James thrives on challenging her own preconceptions about design. Though vocal about her choice to use sustainable and ethical design principles for her label, Tara wants to be judged the same way all designers are judged, ostensibly for her design.