Circularity: Guiding the Future of Design … Nike launches its guide to sustainable innovation in a circular economy

January 29, 2020

Nike has launched a new approach to sustainable innovation, building on its previous approaches known as Considered, and the circular economy.

John Hoke, Nike’s Chief Design Officer says “One of the most powerful things design can do for Nike, athletes and, frankly, the world, is play a role in creating a better future by making better choices that holistically and thoughtfully think through the complete design.

By considering everything around the design solution – how we source, how we make, how the product is used, how it’s returned, how it’s ultimately reimagined.

As designers, we are wired to be problem solvers. We get to think about designing ideas that have the highest performance impact possible. While simultaneously having the lowest environmental footprint or impact.”

The goal of Circularity: Guiding the Future of Design is to provide designers and product creators across the industry with a common language for circularity.

The guide was created in collaboration with the students and staff of Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and with inspiration from Global Fashion Agenda. It follows on the notion that the future of design is one of opportunity. Belief in that conviction is crucial to Nike’s design ethos, in which creating the future of sport is a fundamental cornerstone.

Over the years, Nike’s view to solving problems has broadened from one that considered just the intersection of athlete and product to one that views the entire athlete ecology holistically — which is where issues of sustainability become hugely important.

One example of sustainable design at Nike is new thinking of how to improve the material palette — proving that sustainability is not a constraint, but a catalyst for innovation. A platform like Flyleather is an example of creating a lower-impact and more-durable alternatives to old standards.

This is just one instance of how new technologies are helping the discovery of fresh perspective. While it promotes a head start, there is always the belief in opportunity to do things better. The aim is to create products that promote circularity — products that last longer and are designed with the end in mind.

“We have an obligation to consider the complete design solution, inclusive of how we source it, make it, use it, return it and, ultimately, how we reimagine it,” says Hoke.

Circularity: Guiding the Future of Design is built around 10 principles.

“These principles are starting points from which to tear down norms and reconsider the process of craft and design. The hope is that the workbook helps to inspire considered choices that will shift the world forwards” he adds.

Julia Barret, Trims Director, discusses Materials Choice, one of the key principles of circular design and part of Circularity:

Joanne Jorgensen, Director Materials Design Nike Knit, describes in this video Nike’s approach to Waste Avoidance, one of the key principles of circular design and part of Circularity:

Deborah Castel, Materials Design Manager Nike Kids, discusses New Business Models, one of the key principles of circular design and part of Circularity: