Education for sustainable clothing consumerism?

A critical examination of educational material for design and craft education



Emneord (Nøkkelord):

Design literacy, educational material, craft, social marketing, sustinable consumerism


This paper sheds light on how aesthetic judgments govern actions in education for design literacy and sustainability behaviours. Educational material is examined by asking: (1) What meanings regarding becoming a sustainable consumer are made available to students in the educational material? (2) How are these narratives communicated to change students’ behaviours? The material in question consists of 17 design projects intended to be used in the Swedish school subject, Educational Sloyd. Using a practical epistemological analysis, two ways of becoming a sustainable consumer are identified: to have fun and to feel clever. The paper also shows how social marketing is used as a strategy in communicating how to change student behaviours. In the discussion, we turn to design literacy research to discuss the results from an educational perspective.


Hanna Hofverberg, Malmö University

Associate Senior Lecturer (PhD) 


Johnny Franzén, Skövde University



Ninitha Maivorsdotter, Skövde University

Associate Professor (PhD)



Andersson, J. & Maivorsdotter, N. (2017) The ‘body pedagogics’ of an elite footballer’s career path—analysing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s biography. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 22(5), 502–517.

Body, J. & Terrey, N. (2019). Design for a Better Future. Routledge.

Brooks, A., Fletcher, K., Francis, R. A., Dulcie Rigby, E. & Roberts, T. (2017). Fashion, Sustainability, and the Anthropocene. Utopian Studies, 28(3), 428–504.

Brülde, B., Dawson, A., Munthe, C., Selgelid, M. J., Persson, K., & Tengland, P.A. (2011). Folkhälsoarbetets etik [The ethics of public health work]. Studentlitteratur.

Buchanan, D.R., Reddy, S. & Hossain, Z. (1994). Social marketing: a critical appraisal. Health Promotion International, 9(1), 49–59.

Clean Clothes (2018). Fashion’s Problems. Waste and pollution.

Christensen, K. S., Hjorth, M., Iversen, O. S., & Smith., R. C. (2019). Understanding design literacy in middle school education: Assessing students’ stances towards inquiry. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 29, 633–654.

Cross, N. (1982). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221–27.

Cross, R., Davis, S., & O´Neil, I. (2017). Health communication: Theoretical and critical perspectives. Polity Press.

Dewey, J. (1934/2005). Art as experience. Perigee Books.

Donahue, T.J. & Ochoa Espejo, P. (2016). The analytical–Continental divide: Styles of dealing with problems. European Journal of Political Theory, 15(2), 138–154.

European Environmental Agency (2020). The impact of textile production and waste on the environment.

Fletcher, K. (2016). Craft of use: Post-growth fashion. Routledge.

Fry, T. (2009). Design futuring: sustainability, ethics, and new practice. Bloomsbury.

Fry, T. & Nocek, A. (red.) (2021). Design in crisis: new worlds, philosophies and practices. Routledge.

Garrison, J. (2022). Transactional perspectivalism: The emergence of language, minds, selves and temporal sequence. In J. Garrison, J. Öhman, & L. Östman (Eds.), Deweyan transactionalism in education: Beyond self-action and inter-action (pp. 39–50). Bloomsbury Publishing.

Gee, J. (2015). Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourses. Routledge.

Green, J., Tones, K., Cross, R., & Woodall, J. (2019). Health promotion: Planning and strategies (4. ed.). Sage.

Hofverberg, H. & Maivorsdotter, N. (2018) Recycling, crafting and learning – an empirical analysis of how students learn with garments and textile refuse in a school remake project. Environmental Education Research 24(6), 775-790.

Illum, B. (2006). Learning in practice – Practical wisdom: The dialogue of the process. Journal of Research in Teacher Education,16(2–3), 106–127.

Illum, B., & Johansson, M. (2009). Vad är tillräckligt mjukt? Kulturell socialisering och lärande i skolans slöjdpraktik [What is soft enough? Cultural socialisation and learning in educational sloyd]. FormAkademisk , 2(1), 69–82.

Jakobson, B., & Wickman, P. -O. (2008). The roles of aesthetic experience in elementary school science. Research in Science Education, 38, 45–65.

Jensen, B &. Schnack, K. (1997). The Action Competence Approach in Environmental Education. Environmental Education Research 3(2), 163–178.

Jickling, B. (1992). Why I don’t want my children educated for sustainable education. Journal of Environmental Education 23(4), 5 – 8.

Kotler, P., Roberto, N., & Lee, N. (2002). Social marketing: Improving the quality of life. (2. ed). Sage.

Kronlid, D. (2021). Etisk teori – skolan som arena för moraliska utmaningar. In M. Serder, & A. Jobér (Eds.), Vetenskapliga teorier för lärare [Scientific theories for teachers] (pp. 419-437). Natur & Kultur.

Lehtonen, M.J., Yeow, P. and Chew, J.Y. (2022). Developing agency by framing wicked problems through design. Futures, 139(May), 102952.

Lindström, K., Jönsson, L. & Hillgren, P. (2021). Sketching hope and grief in transition. Situating anticipation in lived futures. Artifact: Journal of Design Practice, 8(1-2), 17.1-17.22.

Lutnæs, E. (2021). Framing the concept design literacy for a general public. FormAkademisk, 14(4), 1–13.

Marchand, T. H. J. (Ed.). (2017). Craftwork as Problem Solving: Ethnographic Studies of Design and Making. Routledge.

Maus, I. G. (2019). Developing design literacy for sustainability. Lower secondary students’ life cycle thinking on their craft-based design products. FormAkademisk, 12(1), 1–18.

Nielsen, L. M., & Brænne, K. (2013). Design literacy for longer-lasting products. Studies in Material Thinking, 9, 1–9.

Öhman, J. (2008). Environmental ethics and democracy responsibility- A pluralistic approach. In J. Öhman (Ed.), Values and Democracy in Education for Sustainable Development – Contributions from Swedish Research (pp.17–32). Liber.

Ojala, M., Cunsolo, A., Ogunbode, C. A. & Middleton, C. (2021). Anxiety, Worry, and Grief in a Time of Environmental and Climate Crisis: A Narrative Review. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 46, 35–58.

Parker, R. M., Baker, D. W., Williams, M. V., & Nurss, J. R. (1995). The test of functional health literacy in adults. Journal of general internal medicine, 10(10), 537–541.

Rittel, H. W., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4, 155–169.

Romanello, M., McGushin, A. & Di Napoli, C. et al. (2021). The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for health future. The Lancet, 398(10311),1619 1662.

Rosenberg, T. E. (2013). Intermingled Bodies. Distributed Agency in an Expanded Appreciation of Making. FormAkademisk, 6(2) 1-18.

Rosenblatt, L. (2005). Making meaning with texts: Selected essays. Pearson Education.

SCA (December 5, 2017a). Utbildningsmaterial [Educational materials].

SCA (December 5, 2017b). Hållbart mode. Konsumentmakt [Sustainable fashion. Consumer power].

SCA (December 5, 2017c). Hållbart mode. Normkritik [Sustainable fashion. Critique of norms].

Sennett, R. (2008). The craftsman. Penguin Books.

Stegall, N. (2006). Designing for Sustainability: A Philosophy for Ecologically Intentional Design. Design Issues, 22(2), 56–63.

Stevenson, R. B., Broady, M., Dillon, J., & Wals, A. E. J. (2013). International handbook of research on environmental education. Routledge.

Usher, K., Durkin J. & Bhullar N. (2019). Eco-anxiety: How thinking about climate change-related environmental decline is affecting our mental health. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28, 1233–1234.

UNESCO. (1987). Our common future. Oxford University Press.

Van Poeck, K., Vandenplas E. & Östman L. (2023). Teaching action-oriented knowledge on sustainability issues, Environmental Education Research, 1-26.

Wickman, P.-O. (2006). Aesthetic experience in science education: Learning and meaning making as situated talk and action. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Wickman, P.-O., & Östman, L. (2002). Learning as discourse change: A sociocultural mechanism, Science Education, 86, 601–623.

Imagew of several items of used clothes. Artist:  Edith Hofverberg




Hvordan referere

Hofverberg, H., Franzén, J., & Maivorsdotter, N. (2023). Education for sustainable clothing consumerism? : A critical examination of educational material for design and craft education. FormAkademisk, 16(5).

Cited by