University of Limerick
Burcikova_2021_Mundane durability The everyday.pdf (510.93 kB)

Mundane durability: the everyday practice of allowing clothes to last

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conference contribution
posted on 2021-06-16, 07:47 authored by Mila Burcikova
This paper introduces the Emotionally Durable Clothing Model, a framework that expands Don Norman’s (2004) concept of three level design, in relationship to women’s lived experiences with clothing. The model captures the results of a multi-level thematic analysis of in-depth wardrobe conversations with 10 women situated in the UK, aged between 29-69. The methodological approach, through a unique combination of sensory ethnography, narrative enquiry and a designer-maker practice produced valuable layers of information that are difficult to access through questionnaires and other purely verbal approaches. The four themes discussed here: (1) Sensory experiences, (2) Enablers, (3) Longing and belonging and (4) Layering; highlight that women’s relationships with clothes stem from a myriad of sensory impressions, practical needs and personal histories, so closely intertwined that it is often quite impossible to disentangle them. While the Emotionally Durable Clothing Model enables researchers and designers to grasp the leading principles to navigate this complex territory, emotional durability of a garment can rarely be reduced to any one of its elements. It seems striking then that design strategies for extending clothing lifetimes, often represent artificial divisions and fragmented approaches that have little in common with the complexities and conflicting demands of everyday life. The paper therefore argues that the quotidian must be tightly integrated into the current discourse, if emotional durability in fashion is not to become an irrelevant “do good” exercise but an integral way of how we treat our wardrobes, and consequently, in a more holistic sense, our planet.



4th PLATE 2021 Virtual Conference, 26-28 May 2021;





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