Sustainable Fashion Tailoring: An approach for creating a heightened emotional attachment to garment apparel at undergraduate level, through pedagogy, story telling, digital technologies and traditional craftsmanship.

MORRISH, David (2017). Sustainable Fashion Tailoring: An approach for creating a heightened emotional attachment to garment apparel at undergraduate level, through pedagogy, story telling, digital technologies and traditional craftsmanship. In: BAKKER, Connie and MUGGE, Ruth, (eds.) PLATE: Product Lifetimes And The Environment : conference proceedings. Research in Design Series (9). Amsterdam, IOS Press, 280-286. (Submitted)

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Background: Higher Education undergraduate programmes of study have a responsibility to educate learners within their discipline bridging the gap between further education and industry. Never before has it been so important to equip students who can adapt and accommodate change within their practice responding to external socio-economic, cultural, political and environmental issues. With sustainability a key issue, high on companies agendas, it is imperative that educational institutions also educate its learners to help change the direction of a throwaway and environmentally unsustainable industry. Practice based subjects such as those within the Art and Design and in this case Fashion Design, have a responsibility to not only develop learners competencies with the creative, practical and technical skills required by future employers but also a responsibly in creating informed, socially aware and intelligent mind sets who are able to address global shifts and changes with sensitivity, empathy and creativity. It is widely reported through mixed media channels about the impact fashion and textiles industries have on the the environment and its mass contribution to landfill, pollution, climate change and one of encouraging a throw away consumer behaviour – fast fashion. What strategies can higher education programmes of study implement in order to encourage a practice problem solving approach while still encouraging innovation and creativity within design? In an attempt to counter fast fashion, students were challenged to embrace traditional artisan and craftsmanship methodologies of design and manufacture (slow fashion) combining new digital technologies, while underpinning their work through a consumer-connected narrative. This paper is a case study of four second year undergraduate students on a UK fashion design degree programme who were challenged by the luxury brand Ted Baker to design a collection of men’s formal wear suits that combine sports detailing with traditional tailoring for the brands DNA and their customer demographic. Students were encouraged to fully understand consumer behaviour and the brand ethos while simultaneously learning and developing not only the technical practical making skills of tailoring but also encouraged to embrace and experiment with CADCAM technologies and unorthodox design and pattern cutting methodologies. All students were asked to select an underpinning sports related narrative, linking their concepts to the brand while creating an emotional connection with the consumer through cut, detailing, branding and storytelling. In an attempt to develop a more self and globally aware design student, topics such as form and function, ethics and morals, sustainability, colour theory, marketing, behavioural phycology, semantics and semiotics and global issues affecting deign practice were included within the curriculum. Learners were asked to self reflect while also designing for a specific target market. This project is an attempt to address sustainability through forging an informed relationship between designer, brand, consumer and a heightened emotional connection. Purpose of the research: There were several objectives behind this project linking theory, practice and employability in educating fashion design students at undergraduate level. This project ultimately aimed to create fashion design students who are critical, reflective and informed in all stages of the design process, developing a responsible and empathetic design mentality. It is intended that by educating learners on consumer phycology and global issues affecting design, specifically those created by the fashion and textile industries and their environmental impact, it will generate a solution focused fashion forward design acumen. The project raises the question on whether creating garments with meaning and a heightened emotional connection will encourage a change in consumer behaviour and go one step closer to offering one solution for creating a more sustainable product by increasing its life cycle through a creator and consumer behaviour change. Methods: The project simultaneously interlocks theory, practice and employability in the creation of an informed rounded designer. A wide variety of pedagogy strategies encouraged not only a respect for traditional artisan skills and methodologies (tailoring and design) but also an inquisitive attribute to embrace, experiment and innovate by pushing the boundaries of formal tailoring while exploring and implementing strategies to effectively communicate stories through design and product aesthetics. Pedagogy methodologies included: technical demonstrations, and process inductions eLearning, tutorials, lectures, workshops, factory visit, client pitching, self-directed study and academic tutorial support. Processes to communicate story telling include: tailoring, machine sewing, hand sewing, transformational reconstruction (TR) and traditional pattern cutting, drawing, painting, screen, digital & sublimation printing, digital embroidery, weaving, piping, cording and branding. Research methods include; teaching observation, student interview, outcome analysis and student and client reflection and feedback. Principal Results: This paper will review and analyse the project work created by four selected students, highlighting how the different approaches and design/production methodologies applied to a manufactured product (suit) can not only effectively communicate a narrative but help to create an emotional connection between product, brand and consumer. The results will reveal how traditional skills and new technologies can work harmoniously to help create a perceived luxury product thus encouraging increased product longevity through consumer connectivity, specifically that of sentimentality, patriotism, image and perceived value. The results will evidence outcomes that not only challenge traditional formal menwear tailoring but provide forward thinking design directions for future tailoring, breaking the status quo and providing suggestions for a more individual and personalised approach. Conclusions: The conclusion of this project will include four examples of both 2D and 3D student outcomes in response to an industry set brief, giving an insight into how the outcomes communicate an informed and considered narrative (story), linking designer, brand and consumer. Each outcome will evidence diverse methodologies of communication by embracing traditional and new technologies, approaches and thinking, leading to a deeper understanding and questioning of personalisation within apparel. The outcomes will highlight the importance of the role higher education plays within creating future generations of informed design creatives and how this can be utilised to bring about change within society, consumer behaviour and a products life cycle. Status: Completed.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This paper was written for the PLATE 2017 ( Product Lifetimes and the Environment) conference, Delft University of Technology, 8-10 November 2017. Type: Case Study – Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate fashion design learners – Second year live tailoring project in collaboration with Ted Baker. Theme 1: Design for product longevity • Design principles and examples of best practice • Emotionally durable design (e.g. modular design) Theme 4: Cultural perspectives on the throwaway society • Longevity and the quality of goods, sustainable luxury, product aesthetics
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Art and Design
Identification Number:
Page Range: 280-286
Depositing User: David Morrish
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2018 15:53
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 16:24

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