Needs, Needs, Needs

In week 5 of My Sustainable Journey, I continued to learn about the positive aspects of implementing empathic design in the apparel industry. For the reading this week, we read another chapter from the Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change book by Kate Fletcher, and this chapter focused on human needs and in class we began the series of LOLA shows for the semester. While I read Fletcher’s views on design for human needs, one of the things that stuck out the most to me was when she discussed the fact that designing for human needs is under-represented in both fashion and sustainability because of the fact that the values are so far from what commercial design demands in the industry. I really agreed with this point because I believe that currently the apparel industry has a large emphasis on commercial design and it could be very difficult for the industry to predict the outcome of incorporating the basic needs of its consumers into the products that the industry would produce.

Fletcher also discussed the Max-Neef taxonomy of human needs in which can help designers incorporate empathic design methods into their garments. I found that the concept of this matrix to be interesting and it made me think about some of the topics that were discussed in the LOLA show this week. In the first learning community, one of the girls discussed a design-led experiment method used in a shop class and how this applied to the fundamental need of understanding in the Max-Neef matrix. I understood that after listening to this design method and how it was implemented in regards to this need in the matrix that the understanding need was met through interaction between designers and the students of the Bertie County community. This was probably my favorite topic out of all of the empathic design concepts that were discussed in the show. I really enjoyed the LOLA show because it allowed me to really see the impact of empathic design in both interiors and in the apparel industry.

After reading Kate Fletcher’s and listening to the groups during the LOLA show, I am really excited to view more ways in which empathic design can be incorporated in the apparel industry. How likely is it that empathic design can be used in the industry, especially due to the fact that the apparel industry is already so focused on commercial design? Will empathic design methods truly be able to aid in satisfying human needs if it is implemented in the industry?

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One Response to Needs, Needs, Needs

  1. Dr. Cosette Armstrong says:

    You are asking great questions! I also wonder why empathic design methods must be at odds with commercial ends, too. It seems that a paradigm change could achieve both:)

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