Fashion Thinking: Fashion Practices and Sustainable Interaction Design


Broadly defined, “fashion” refers to the symbolic, aesthetic, and cultural meanings that objects carry, especially the ways in which people use objects to express their taste, lifestyle, social status and belonging to a community. We don’t ordinarily think of fashion as a positive force for sustainable practices in the design of products and services. One imagines that fashion drives consumption and premature obsolescence at the expense of efficient use of resources. At the same time, fashion exists in various aspects of our lives and plays an essential role in shaping consumption practices (Sassatelli, 2007). Also, fashion-oriented design encourages ingenuity, imagination and innovation (Walker, 2006), which are crucial elements in pushing forward technological and social progress. In this paper, we ask a design research question about whether it is possible to re-conceptualize fashion so as to help designers make sustainable practices natural and fashionable. In other words, is it possible to embrace fashion as a fundamentally human predisposition in a way that is also in harmony with the need to ensure a sustainable future? To drill down into some of the specific questions underneath this large area of inquiry we ask: How does the notion of fashion affect consumption practices, especially with respect to devices and energy-intensive services made especially with respect to information technology devices and serves that are resource-intensive or use scarce materials? Is there a way to embed fashion into design to facilitate and promote sustainable practices, generally? Is there a way to incentivize businesses and policymakers to create business models or policy so as to target fashion demand for sustainable rather than unsustainable consumption, especially the consumption of products and services in which HCI and interaction design are implicated? Our interests are in the arenas of fashion, sustainability, and HCI. Specifically, we are interested in understanding ultimate particular acts within the everyday practices of individuals in relation to the things they treasure. We are interested in multiple levels of this relationship, including affect, form and function. By ultimate particular acts, we refer to Nelson and Stolterman’s ORIGINAL ARTICLE

5 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Pan2015FashionTF, title={Fashion Thinking: Fashion Practices and Sustainable Interaction Design}, author={Yue Pan and David Roedl and Eli Blevis and John C. Thomas}, year={2015} }