In an article by Kirsi Niinimaki and Llpo Koskinen the quote, “Consumers create attachments to some objects whereas they easily dispose of others” really made me think. As I read this article in bed I looked around my very own room to see if this quote was true in my own life. My observations were as follows:
*My bedspread…cute, but I would sell it if someone would buy it….
*My nightgown…soft, but holds little value…
*My rug…dirty and should probably dispose of it immediately…
*The Minnie Mouse stuffed animal I snuggle with… 21 years old, hideous and ripped, but an item that I will never part with.
Now I understand this quote much more clearly. Why do I value my stuffed animal more than anything else in my room? Niinimaki and Koskinen composed a chart to analyze the different reasons that we form attachments to textiles and clothing. Eight different “areas” were chosen for the diagram–Emotional values, quality, functionality, design/beauty/style, material, connection to self, effort, present/future experiences. Based off of my own feelings towards textiles, I found that most of my own attachments are formed based off of emotional values. Realizing this about myself, I now also realize how difficult it is to design products that consumers form attachments to. Whoever designed my stuffed animal probably did not realize that I would keep it for so long. So how do we, as sustainable designers, help strengthen attachments that people form with their clothing?
I believe that we can help by making products that are needed by consumers. People “need” bedding on their beds. Why not create extremely soft and durable blankets that will be kept for years to come? Why not create organic-cotton pillowcases that help reduce facial blemishes and acne?
I definitely had a learning epiphany this week. I realized that stronger attachments will be formed between the consumer and the product by designing outside of the box and creating products that leave lasting impressions in consumer’s heads.