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Enhancing sensory human-product attachment through participatory embroidery design for a circular textile and fashion industry

Commodity culture is rooted in materialism and values such as efficiency and expediency. We live in a constant condition of production, consumption and disposal. Our life experiences and personal values are manipulated, playing upon our fundamental need to belong to social structures. Textile and fashion production leverages guerrilla marketing and facilitates over-consumption without consumer awareness of design and production processes, leading to consumer disconnection and waste. Engaging consumers within a circular system could bring users into the loop, becoming custodians and co-creators of sustainable materials and design processes.

The aim of my research is to understand consumers' embodied experience of circular bio-based embroidery materials and making process to facilitate human-product attachment within a circular textile and fashion industry.

Embroidery provides a means to uplift a garment with aesthetically pleasing tactile designs but embroidery materials and processes open up a number of questions about sustainability and recyclability. The tactile and haptic nature as well as the meditative slowness of stitching has been shown to increase wellbeing and a deeper connection and tendency to reflect on the choice of materials. As well as being a decorative art and design process, it is often used as a means to repair and up-cycle garments thereby giving new life to old clothes and allowing consumers to build memories and pass on narratives to future users. To facilitate human product attachment my research will examine consumers’ embodied materiality, sensory experience and understanding of circular bio-based embroidery materials and design processes.

Using participatory design and the micro-phenomenological interview method, to bring to the foreground meanings, values and curiosities in circular embroidery materials and design processes.

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