I Love this Dress, It Makes Me Feel Beautiful! Empathic Knowledge in Sustainable Design is a study about sustainable product relationships with an eye on textiles and clothing. According to the authors, there are “seven determinants of product attachments can be identified: enjoyment; memories to persons, places, and events; support of self-identity; life vision; utility; reliability; and market value.” With these factors in mind, I re-established my appreciation for one of my oldest and most favorite items: a gold family heirloom bracelet. Reading this study made me understand what factors about the bracelet actually make me love it so much. I can relate my attachment to the bracelet through each of the seven factors…
Enjoyment : Fortunately, the aesthetic appearance of the bracelet matches my taste. I love the timeless design made of gold. It is a very beautiful bracelet that brings me many compliments.
Memories to persons, places, and events : This is the most important factor. The bracelet has been passed down through four generations of my family on my father’s side. I do not see my father’s family frequently, because they live in the Middle East, so the bracelet is a constant reminder of the memories I have of them.
Support of self-identity : The bracelet is engraved with the initial of my last name. Although it was not designed for me specifically, I know it was designed for my family.
Life vision : The bracelet has been sustainably designed so that it can be passed on for decades. It is important that the bracelet remains with a female with my father’s last name, and if my last name changes, then I must pass it on to the next generation. I will not keep the bracelet for all of my life, but I know that it will be functional long after it is in my possession.
Utility : The bracelet is highly functional because of its simplistic design, which makes it suitable to wear on multiple occasions.
Reliability : The bracelet is made of a gold metal that has aged very well – no scratches, discoloration, or misshaping.
Market value : The bracelet is never to be sold, but to me it is a valuable item. When it was originally designed, it was very expensive because of the customization and need for durable and long-lasting materials.
My epiphany is that my family heirloom bracelet is special to me mostly because of its meaning rather than its appearance. Although our wardrobes are not made up entirely of family heirlooms that we will value and keep for many years, we should aim to obtain more precious pieces like family heirlooms to build our wardrobes. It is sustainable and benefits the individual. How have all designers not established that they should be designing products that have potential for the customer to create a lifelong relationship? When you’re benefiting the environment and yourself, it’s a win-win situation.