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A new model for participation and sustainability in fashion design

Al-Falou, Katam

This study looks at the possibilities of different approaches to designing sustainable fashion. Its focus is on business attire, arguing that clothes should not be seen as one entity but looked at as di erentiated from each other. The thesis follows a social constructionist approach as an overarching research strategy on an epistemological level, using symbolic interactionism, as well as hermeneutics, as a theoretical perspective, and a grounded theory methodology and content analysis plus case studies as a method. The thesis first designes what business attire is and the clothing objects and attributes that business attire consists of, gives an account of the sustainability of business attire and finally offers a thorough discussion of a sustainable design framework that builds on citizen participation. In detail, chapter three suggests a hermeneutic approach to business fashion within the work environment in order to understand the symbolic value and varying styles of these clothes, and to argue for their importance within the workplace. Using a grounded theory approach and conducting a content analysis with a structural linguistic model of 102 fashion magazines, the author found seven di erent styles of dress. This chapter thus first discusses theoretical concepts related to the research results. The author then presents her findings, giving details of clothes, colours, materials and accessories related to these styles. The author intends the findings to contribute to a greater awareness of the attributes of business wear in the fashion design community and to support the future design development and social analysis of business dress. Chapter four provides qualitative case studies of a small sample within knowledge work environments in order to understand the potential for sustainability in clothes worn to work. The idea that business attire sits outside rapidly changing trends in fashion presents an exemplary way of designing for sustainability by emphasising value criteria such as material durability and style longevity. The design of business clothes requires, among other things, a systematic knowledge of wearing behaviour in order to understand the symbolic values of wearables. A study comprising a series of interviews with business clothing wearers about patterns of disposal, laundry habits and emotional attachment to business dress is then presented. The ndings might contribute to a greater awareness of the sustainable attributes of business clothing in the fashion design community, and might help fashion designers and clothing developers to o er a product that is satisfying to users and which embodies sustainable values. Chapter five provides a thorough content analysis of the research literature of citizen participation from 2005 to 2015. The results frame a conceptual approach to sustainable fashion design, including ways and means towards a sustainable, participatory approach with design practice in mind. The framework is based on the idea that citizen participation has been thoroughly researched, and that many lessons learned from this can be transferred to fashion design. A sustainable fashion design framework requires not only speci c steps to be taken, but also preparatory measures, roles, types of involvement and quality control, amongst other things, to be considered. The framework might contribute to a new design practice in fashion design for the purposes of sustainability by providing a pratical guide for designers, as well as academics, for further scrutiny and evaluation. Chapter six presents a framework for sustainable fashion design, using Design Thinking and the Stanford d.school bootleg as an inspiration for structure and communication of the framework. In contrast to former work, it discusses sustainable design in great detail by o ering a strategy as well as methods on the actual design process itself. The framework is then discussed in the wider context of participatory design, sustainable design, as well as citizen participation, and design thinking. The chapter concludes with how to use the framework in practice and how it can change fashion design practices for fashion designers and clothing developers. The thesis nishes with a summary and conclusion, discussing the strength and limitations, as well as implications of this research and recommends further research.
Die Doktorarbeit betrachtet die Potentiale verschiedener Zugänge zur nachhaltigen Mode. Der Fokus liegt dabei auf Businessmode, mit dem Argument, dass Mode nicht als ein allumfassender Begriff gesehen werden darf, sondern sich in viele unterschiedliche Bekleidungsbereiche unterteilt. Durch diese gezielte Betrachtung eines speziellen Bereiches, der Businessmode, wird aufgezeigt, dass gerade die unterschiedlichen Bekleidungsbereiche auch einen unterschiedlichen Grad an Nachhaltigkeitspotentiale aufweisen. Insbesondere Businessmode, wie anhand einer Inhaltsanalyse in der Arbeit dargelegt wird, unterliegt kaum großen stilistischen Veränderungen und besitzt damit per se eine grundlegende Langlebigkeit wie sie ein Nachhaltigkeitsgedanke auch fordert. Die Arbeit verfolgt methodisch einen konstruktionistischen Gedanken und bedient sich den Prinzipien des symbolischen Interaktionismus und der Hermeneutik. Als Methoden werden Fallstudien und Inhaltsanalysen verwand, basierend auf der Grounded Theory Methodology. Als Ergebnis zeigt die Arbeit insbesondere auf, wie Bürgerbeteiligungsmodelle als Leitfaden für einen partizipativen Designprozess herangezogen werden können, um mit Hilfe der systematischen Nutzereinbindung nachhaltigere Mode zu gestalten. Da Bürgerbeteiligung eine lange demokratische Tradition ist, sind Partizipationsansätze entsprechend systematisch erforscht worden und die „lessons-learned“ bieten einen reichen Erfahrungsschatz für den neu entwickelten Ansatz der nachhaltig und partizipativ gestalteten Mode.