University of Limerick
Neto_and_Ferreira_2021_Through-thick_and_thin.pdf (420.31 kB)

Through thick and thin: committing to a long-lasting wearer-clothing relationship

Download (420.31 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2021-06-17, 22:34 authored by A. Neto, J. Ferreira
This paper draws from a study on the long-term active relationships people have with clothes. We developed an online survey with open-ended questions that prompted 170 female participants to write about a garment they have owned for a long time and still wear. This topic addresses one of the most pressing issues the fashion industry has been facing in the last twenty years, namely clothing overconsumption. Studying how wearers relate with their clothes is key if we want to revert this trend. Following previous research that set the parallel between wearer-clothing relationships and interpersonal love relationships, we triangulated our qualitative data with existing evidence on reasons for clothing disposal and theory on interpersonal relationships. We find that reasons for clothing disposal are frequently situations of disagreement, difficulties to which wearers react differently. While for many wearers those are enough reasons to discard their garments, for others they are just bumps on the road which can be overcome and are worth the effort to do so. Our findings suggest that wearer-clothing relationships’ longevity (or the lack thereof) is as much related to the setbacks that arise along the way as to the ability or willingness of the wearers to overcome them. This paper brings new insights on what influences wearer-clothing relationship longevity. For research, it adds to the understanding of similarities between wearer-clothing relationships and interpersonal relationships. For design practice, it is worth reflecting on the role of design beyond the pre-production stage, since reasons for longevity may be dependent on unpredictable wearer-worn experiences.



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





Usage metrics

    University of Limerick


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager