Few practices influence our everyday life as much as design does (Manzini, 2016). There are few things, perhaps only food and fuel, that connect to us so intimately and have such a significant impact on the world around us as the clothes we wear (Fletcher & Grose, 2012). Nevertheless, it is the very industry in charge of producing those clothes whose unsustainable practices jeopardize our future. Thus, there is an unquestionable need for a systemic change in the fashion industry (Gwilt & Rissanen, 2011). This need is also reflected in the growing interest in sustainable investment and sustainability start-ups (Deeley, 2020). Brands, persuaded by a new generation of demanding consumers, realize that long-term competitive advantages can arise from developing sustainable practices (Kent & Guilbault, 2019). Fashion designers play a fundamental role in this transition. Decisions made during the design phase “account for more than 70% of the costs of product development, manufacture, and have a significant impact on end-of-life management for a product” (Waage, 2007, p. 639). Design activities also make a significant contribution to a company’s innovation capabilities (Filippetti, 2011). A search of the literature revealed that few studies have researched fashion designers’ role in driving sustainability, the barriers they encounter, and what must be done to address this issue (Kozlowski, 2013). This research paper aims to fill this gap by exploring two concepts; design-driven innovation (DDI) and sustainability-driven innovation (SDI). Based on these two notions, this study further explores how fashion designers can develop a sustainable design practice by embodying the role of a radical researcher (RR) and cultivating new competencies and a new mindset.

Focus and scope
This study explores general notions like design, sustainability, and innovation. However, it focuses specifically on fashion designers, their design practice, and their potential to promote sustainability. This exploratory study delves into the dimensions of DDI and SDI from the perspective of a fashion designer. I am both the writer of this study and a fashion designer who analyses these concepts from the newly acquired knowledge and perspective gained from the master’s study program in Sustainability in Fashion and Creative Industries (M.A.). As this study seeks to explore the competencies of a radical researcher, I have tried to embody this role myself. While being grounded on rigorous academic research on the previously mentioned topics, the scope of this research is to outline a learning module that encourages and inspires fashion designers to continue their learning journey, to research new meanings, and cultivate new values to guide their design practice.

Research Structure
This research study is divided into two main parts. The first will focus on the theory that underpins this study as well as the presentation of the literature that has been used. In contrast, the second part will have a practical focus seeking to merge different theoretical stances to draw inferences. Specifically, the former will present the methodology conducted, together with an analysis of its validity (chapter 1), and review the relevant literature to explore key concepts and frameworks from design-driven innovation and sustainability-driven innovation (chapter 2). Later on, this study will explore the competencies of a radical researcher (chapter 3) and analyze the results from the interviews based on the previously established definitions (chapter 4). The second and final part will display the development of the learning module (chapter 5). Finally, chapter 6 will summarize key findings with recommendations, limitations, and possible areas of further research.

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