Fashion is food for the creative monster in us. This week, we studied various approaches of consumption and how we decipher product attachment. Our material possessions, such as clothing, define who we are as a person. What we wear gives us an outward identity; it gives us a personality and shows what we value.
As assigned this week, we brought in our favorite and oldest textile possession. Before this assignment I was not very aware of the specific details about my possessions that I was attached to. My favorite garment is my black leather jacket. At first glance it is my favorite because it is my favorite color, black, and because of its multi-functionality as described in I Love This Dress. Other attachment attributes that this assignment brought to my attention was the quality of the garment, the classic style and last but not least is the present and future experiences. I was completely unaware that the reason for my attachment to the leather jacket was the promise of the experience in the jacket. I got this jacket during one of the best summers of my life and I continue to wear it in hopes that more narratives will emerge from the jacket and I it is very unlikely that I will every replace it.
This epiphany is greatly supported by product attachment and especially consumption being driven by emotion. As described by Niinimaki & Koskinen in I Love This Dress, we purchase to aspire to a specific lifestyle and use products to express ourselves. When we purchase clothing we take into consideration the influence of those around us as well. Our clothing tends to match those around us in our clubs, organizations and friend groups we are associated. When we purchase clothing we emotionally evaluate the item, making sure it will not only give us satisfaction but help us fit in somewhere as well. As for designers of this clothing, trying to tap into the minds and processes of purchasing is difficult. “Designers should concentrate on designing longer product lifespan, and at the same time consumer need to build a deeper relationship with the product in order to form a deeper attachment and care for the product.” (Manzini, I Love This Dress) Designers have used many research tools to help come up with product knowledge and ideas.
Through questionnaires, interviews and design probes they discover what drives us as consumers, but sometimes the deepest attachments cannot be discovered. A few ways that Niinimaki & Keskinen have discovered that help deepen product attachment and postpone the product replacement is through personalization such as DIY. Pinterest has recently taken over the do it yourself world! Some people may not be the most creative but with some easy 1-2-3-step tutorials you can create a product that you are proud of and cannot imagine replacing. The products you create are usually personalized for you and one of a kind, which gives the consumer pride! Another design option is through co-creation. A design probe, which we all got to participate in, gave us a sense that we got to be apart of the design process. Although we were just giving others insight into our everyday lives we helped present the lack of something in our lives.
Design is a complicated process, but being able to verbalize and visualize dreams or wants in our lives help us look ahead with the designer, creating a product that will be easily attachable to our lives. Because of the probes package, the design process was able to begin! I am glad to have been apart of it.