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by Contagious Team

Sportswear giant develops mobile app to help designers make sustainable choices

Nike launched a free mobile app that enables fashion designers to make more sustainably conscious design decisions. The MAKING iPhone app provides designers with information about the environmental impact of textiles and components. 

Working with London College of Fashion and design innovation lab Huge/KingCoyle, Portland, Nike developed the app to rank 22 materials used in apparel and home goods into four categories that relate to their environmental impact: water, chemistry, energy and waste. Throughout the design process, the garment creators can reference the various materials to see how their garment scores. Fifty points are the desired score for each product, which is based on data that Nike has compiled during seven years of research as part of its Nike Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) work. Further iterations of the app will include the function to rate materials used in footwear.

Lee Holman, Nike VP of apparel design said: 'We've created the MAKING app to empower any designer around the world to make better materials choices in the initial stages of the innovation process to ultimately create products that are better for consumers and better for the planet.' 

LCF student Alasdair Leighton-Crawford remarked that 'it was incredibly insightful to use the data in MAKING while creating our designs. The app helped us identify materials that have lower environmental impacts, without compromising the design process. MAKING shows that sustainability is not a limit, but an inspiring new way to look at product creation.' 

The app is promoted on the Nike's Makers Tumblr site and its Nike Better World Twitterfeed.

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This shows how hard Nike is working to leverage its sustainability credentials. It's a useful tool that portrays the brand as leading the pack when it comes to the fashion industry and sustainability, and it's also no doubt worthy of some juicy PR.

The MAKING app also highlights that a fabric like cotton, which might easily be conceived as environmentally friendly due to its natural sources, doesn't necessarily fare as well against something like polypropylene fabric. This tool may prove especially useful for students and recent graduates breaking into the design industry, arming them with the additional knowledge that's required when it comes to making conscious choices in the design process. In that respect, it's good to see Nike collaborating with the London College of Fashion on the app - by using feedback and insight from them - and this will no doubt will put Nike front of mind for the students when it comes to considering future employers.

From a more content-led point of view it's nice to see MAKING as a follow-on from brand's May 2012's Making of the Making video, which was a call to arms for designers to take sustainability into their own hands. Both pieces, the video and app, work nicely together, and it's great seeing a constant tone and message run through Nike's Better World communications.


This story originally appeared on Contagious Feed. Contagious Feed is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious Feed contact