How to be a Sustainability Superhero

With efficiencies in technology, fast fashion disrupted the industry with its lightning-fast speed of production by bringing the runway straight to your door.

With consumers demands for cheap clothing soaring, the depletion of natural resources followed. Designers can help by slowing down to take a hard look at how they contribute to the bigger issue.

See how the Goldstein Museum of Design is taking this issue seriously and leading the way with sustainable design.

Redefining and redesigning the fashion industry

The Goldstein Museum of Design: College of Design at the University of Minnesota uses the power of design to foster improved quality of life for individuals and communities. They realized that the fashion industry is one of the top contributing polluters so students, faculty, and donors have made it their mission to find ways to redefine and redesign the fashion industry.

At their Redefining Redesigning Fashion: Designs for Sustainability, they showcased designs that would combat the throw-away lifestyle and promoted how designers can be part of the solution.

Five sustainability themes were woven throughout the clothing and accessory exhibition which represented how the designers were mindful of using natural resources.

Repurposing Benefits

Reduce waste

Because reducing waste is a core concept of sustainable design, they looked beyond fashion and saw an opportunity to reduce waste even further.

The Goldstein Museum of Design produces approximately three exhibition banners a year for interior display. They have been upcycling their banners for a number of years because they value the resources that went into their creation and didn’t want to see the banners go to waste.

Engaging your audience

We were careful to create products that represented the banner’s original intent so that their message could live on as fun products that were sold in the museum‘s gallery and given as gifts to student graphic designers and special donors.

goldstein museum

Banners before

The banners that were used were a softer fabric, one of many materials we can use to create upcycled products.


One of the banners before it was repurposed


Represent your brand

For the Goldstein Museum of Design, we created:


Emotional connection

Another sustainability theme that is represented by the upcycled products is the emotional connections they create. The products create a tangible reminder of the unique experience that lasts much longer after a banner is taken down.

Giving the banners a new, useful purpose evokes memories and feelings each time the products are used.

Lin is thrilled with the look of the merch, and the fun placement of images. She loved that you captured the Goldstein name on some of the gussets...
— Barbara Lutz, Administrative Assistant to Lin Nelson-Mayson

Relan Wrap Up

The design industry has the power to make a global environmental impact and as consumers, we can start to ask questions about who is behind the clothing we purchase. At Relan, we can help your company contribute by repurposing your materials. Have questions? Send us an email and we can answer them!

Get more ideas for your organization about the why you should use upcycled marketing products by subscribing to the Relan Blog!

Kari Brizius is president of Relan and is a West Point Graduate, certified personal trainer, a US Army Veteran, and a wholehearted entrepreneur. Kari’s passion for the environment, the planet, and healthy living fuels her entrepreneurial spirit. Her mission is to provide thought leadership on sustainability initiatives surrounding healthy living, the environment, and sustainability messaging. Learn more about Kari here.