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Consumer Experience Digital Tools for Dematerialisation for the Circular Economy (CX Digital Tools) aims to design a suite of technologies and digital tools that empower consumers to extend product life. This will help the UK apparel-textiles sector to achieve ‘zero avoidable waste’ as part of a Circular Economy.

At a glance

This project:

  • Works with citizens and partners to innovate digital tools that empower consumers to extend product life.
  • Supports experiences and services for apparel products that are related to care, repair and upgrade.
  • Encourages citizen-consumers to take on the role of ‘custodian’ of a product, using, looking after and enhancing it.

The Challenge

One of the core principles of the Circular Economy (CE) is to keep products in use for as long as possible, and one of the main ways to do this is to support people to value their clothing and the materials they are made from. We will innovate CX Digital Tools to support experiences and services for apparel products that are related to care, repair and upgrade in order to keep apparel in use for longer, taking advantage of ubiquitous technology such as smart phones or wearable technology.

We will gain an understanding of how social and digital actors (the consumer-public, charity shops, repair initiatives, clothes swapping initiatives, apparel brands, retailers, and digital-electronics hacker communities) come together to enact a CE.

We will adopt a citizen science approach to design and test experiences and services with the consumer-public, and through enhancing common and ubiquitous technologies with sensing capabilities.

Our technologies will transform the role of ‘consumers’ to be ‘co-creators’ of a product cycle, by engaging them in interactive, meaningful, and sustainable cultures of products.

CX Digital Tools Programme of Research

Textile materials play an important role in the experience of clothing and how it makes people feel. We suggest that creative digital technologies are starting to become key constituents in product experience. The potential exists for these technologies to be used in the creation of immersive, multisensory and multimodal narratives that are highly relevant to consumers’ emotions and memories. Material experiences could prove critical in consumption behaviour and decision making, and hence our programme of research is underpinned by our position that experiences and services for products must be constituents of a new relationship between consumers and their clothing.

In our programme of research we will develop three CX scenarios to examine the human experience of materials and to explore the use phases of clothing.

  1. ​​‘I refurbish’: Supporting consumer-custodians to maintain and repair their garments by accessing mending and customisation techniques and facilitating the development of transferable skills.
  2. ‘The Brand refurbishes’: Investigating changing business models to encourage consumers to participate in textiles circularity and capturing information on wear and degradation to inform future material cycles.
  3. ‘The Community refurbishes’: Exploring with the community opportunities to collectively share repair and maintenance skills as part of the social refurbishment of garments (e.g. repair shops).

The CX Digital Tools project interacts with the Consumer Experience research strand of the Textiles Circularity Centre

Key details

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