Design Thinking: SEGAN


(Image courtesy of SEGAN)


In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is "Design Thinking." Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables a company to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how the organizations apply Design Thinking into their market offerings. I had the opportunity to talk with SEGAN to learn more about the brand.



(Image courtesy of SEGAN)


1. What makes SEGAN different from other brands on the market?

Our values and how they're incorporated into our daily operations. SEGAN stands for our 5 core values of Sustainability, Ethicality, Gender-equality, Activism, and Nature.Sustainability: Our sustainability journey starts from raw materials to production and the afterlife. Raw materials: After exploring various plant-based leathers (e.g. Desserto cactus leather, Pinatex, etc), we noticed they all include petroleum-based materials (e.g. PU and PVC). With further diligence, we found and chose MIRUM, a 100% bio-based, plastic-free vegan leather, dyed with natural colours, and made with no water used during the production process. In addition to MIRUM, the products feature recycled (and 100% recyclable) hardware that offers the highest quality, durability, and sustainability. Production: The largest sustainability focus in the production process is to minimize material waste. The scraps are used in a variety of ways, and the unusable pieces are returned to their factories to be recycled back into the production process. Design: From the beginning, we have been trying to find ways to improve the design and remove unrecyclable pieces. An example of this is the removal of any zippers in our first products and a solid structure for longevity. After-life: Although SEGAN products are designed to last for decades, we will launch our Take-Back and Recycling program in 2023, followed by the launch of SEGAN Marketplace afterward. Ethicality: SEGAN sets a new bar in ethical fashion by introducing and highlighting artisans on each product and through every channel possible (social media, website, blogs, etc.), and making sure about their work environment and personal well-being. Our profit-sharing program with our artisans will begin in 2024 (the anticipated date of profitability for the company). Gender-equality: We believe that everyone should be able to choose their identity and style, therefore we don't categorize our products into gender-specific categories. Also, SEGAN is partly female-owned and operated at every level, from directors to product managers and artisans. Activism: SEGAN was found to combat the current social and environmental crises by offering premium fashion accessories that don't compromise sustainability and ethics for quality. We regularly work with non-profits and activist groups to pave the way toward a more sustainable future for fashion. Nature: Conserving nature is at the heart of our operations. From our raw materials (vegan, plastic-free, and made of agricultural byproducts) to our pledge to plant 8 trees per every product sold. We work with non-profits and other organizations to make this happen.




(Image courtesy of SEGAN)





2. How does SEGAN stay ahead of upcoming trends?

SEGAN doesn't get involved in fashion trends. Instead, We prefer to care about and act on meaningful trends such as the global climate crisis, consumerism culture, human rights, animals' well-being, and a host of other trends that directly impact people, animals, and the planet. This belief is encapsulated in our motto #MeaningsNotTrends.



(Image courtesy of SEGAN)


3. Where does SEGAN draw inspiration from during the design process?

We get inspired by pieces that symbolize timelessness, quality, and sustainability. Every SEGAN product is designed responsibly to bring the highest levels of quality and sustainability together and to stay relevant for years, away from short-term trends.



(Image courtesy of SEGAN)


4. How does SEGAN incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

We strive to sculpt a meaningful future for fashion that protects people, the planet and animals. We create timeless, premium pieces by using the most eco-friendly materials, adopting the fairest manufacturing practices, and eliminating waste in our production.




(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)




5. What is the future of the company?

We strive to be the benchmark for sustainable and ethical fashion. On the environmental side, we will be launching our take-back and recycling program in 2023, followed by SEGAN secondhand marketplace. On the ethical side, we strive to develop local expertise to work with innovative materials, and eventually switch to local production. Also, we'll be starting our profit-sharing program with artisans and employees in 2024 (anticipated date of profitability).



Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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