Market forecasts and personal adoption of smart textiles in fitness sector

Title: Market forecasts and personal adoption of smart textiles in fitness sector

Funding body: AHRC

Duration: 8 Months

Position: Research fellow

School/Department: CADBE


The basic concept of smart textiles consists of textile structures that can sense and react to different stimuli from their environment. While forecasts indicate how this sector has the potential to grow in the future, a gap remains for smart textiles to become commercially viable. Growth in consumerism and consumption of services and experiences has led to innovative products that satisfy higher order needs including ideas, sensory and emotional fulfillment, cultural experiences and entertainment. The aim of the research is to understand smart textiles in this context and to identify factors that influence personal ownership. These will help manufacturers and technologists gain insight into consumer experience and contribute to better design, innovation, marketing and services. This research focuses on market conditions for the application of smart textiles in fitness clothing and the opportunities for product development. The findings contribute to the field of user adoption in smart textiles and conclude with proposals for the direction of future design and technical development.

To verify and expand the data obtained from literature review, a research study in the form of workshop was conducted. The aim of the workshop was to investigate the influence of experiential factors with regard to smart clothing. It consisted of a set of activities based around Shaw et al., (2010) mind space experience and interacting experience.  Shaw et al., (2010) clarifies that instead of focusing on physical experience alone, the mind journey focus on mind space experience, where psychologically the consumer is not actually interacting with the experience but influenced by it.

The main data collection of the research project consisted of a survey conducted with 128 participants with university students, researchers and designers. The structure of the survey questions was informed by the findings from the observation method and workshop, however the aim of this stage was to investigate the important features and alerts the participants value in a smart top.

A Human Centered Approach to Evaluate the consumer acceptance of Temperature Sensing Socks

Title:A Human Centered Approach to Evaluate the consumer acceptance of Temperature Sensing Socks

Funding body: MRS

Duration: 4 Months

Position: Research fellow

School/Department: CADBE

As smart textiles are used in electronic health application, the success of the technology depends on the clinical application and patient’s acceptance to wear the sensors. The ATRG (Advanced Technology Research Group, NTU) developed temperature sensing yarns (TSY) that are woven in a seamless knitted socks. The sensor embedded socks provide diabetic patients and their clinicians with early warning system with foot ulcers. The technology used in the socks should not cause any physical irritation or damage to wearer’s skin, moreover the socks need to be comfortable to put on and take off, to ensure user comfort and not discouraged to use them. The aim of the project is to understand and evaluate the user’s acceptance, comfort level and physical properties of the temperature sensing diabetic socks rather than relying on diagnostic purpose.

The likelihood of success for temperature sensor socks equally depends on clinical technology and patient’s acceptance to wear the socks. By using a human centered approach to engage the views of the developers and the end users the physical characteristics of the socks like tactile, appearance, fabric abrasion and laundering are tested using wear trial. A participatory action research with active involvement of the developers and the participants at each stage of the investigation help the project to be reflexive, flexible and iterative.

The temperature sensing socks are tested in two ways: socks with sensors and socks without sensors. Two methods were taken for data collection: first method was a wear trial for 14 days, resulting in data collection that captures the functional, physical and symbolic properties of the socks. The second method was a focus group; a platform to discuss wear trial results with developers of temperature sensing socks, researchers and participants that contributes to the R&D capabilities as well as sales opportunities for temperature sensing socks. This research describes the approach taken, the results and experience derived from the project.


Emotional Fit

Title: Emotional Fit project

Funding body: RF

Duration: 2015-2016

Position: Research fellow

School/Department: CADBE

In most contemporary western societies bodies showing any physical signs of ageing are deemed as deteriorating, unattractive or even repulsive (Biggs, 2002). In stark contrast to this, fashion as a concept, and corresponding fashion design practices, are responsive to the beauty ideals based on youth and sexuality. In this vein, the sociologist Julia Twigg (2013: 1) aptly comments that “fashion and ageing sit uncomfortably together”. The Emotional Fit project is a creative collaboration between fashion designers and researchers based at Nottingham Trent University and Brighton University. We seek to explore the persistent questions of how ageing female bodies, stereotypically perceived as distant from the over-idealised fashion standards, can be materialised as bodies-in-fashion, and whether this involves transforming bodies or transforming fashion. With these questions in mind we have developed an exploratory and participatory fashion design methodology, combining methods typically used in phenomenological psychology, anthropology and design, including: interviews, personal inventories and material explorations (e.g. pattern cutting and digital printing). Such a theoretical, methodological and practical synchronisation resulted in an approach where the personal life histories and individual trajectories of mature women, together with their embodied experiences, skills, knowledge and expectations provide foundation for such a transformation; transformation based on appreciation and enhancement, and not disguise or denial.

Relevance for e-textiles.

In this work, there is a potential for the e-textile community to draw from the methods used in this project to identify user needs and requirements for the ageing population. Working with different age demographics highlight various different applications such as personal wellbeing devices and products. This project highlights issues of sensitivity that is required in co-designing meaningful individual solutions. This work demonstrates  many questions that a creative team may need to work within fashion practice. Such questions raised in this project, share relevance to  the e-textiles community.

emo_fit website


Fashion and Ageing: A New Design Paradigm

Name: Ania Sadkowska

Title: ARTS-INFORMED INTERPRETATIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL ANALYSIS:  Understanding older men’s experiences of ageing through the lens of fashion and clothing

Funding body: AHRC

Duration: 2012-2016

Position: PhD

School/Department: CADBE

The aim of my research was to investigate the possibility of adopting the lens of fashion and clothing in order to explore the older men’s experience of ageing. In this vein, as a creative practitioner, I sought to explore the vantage point and the relationship between fashion and clothing, embodiment and the physical and social processes of growing older in relation to individuals’ experiences.

In this research, I have developed a novel hybrid methodology, Arts-Informed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Rooted in phenomenology and arts, this methodology put to the test the concept of ‘making’ as a valid way of data analysis, equal to writing. My research process built on the concept of the hermeneutic circle; the subsequent activities of writing and making allowed me to constantly move between different elements of the participants’ experiences, which in turn facilitated the conditions for more in-depth and holistic understanding and enhanced interpretations. In addition, such an approach gave me the opportunity to utilise my skills and sensibilities as an artist and designer and to blur the boundaries between the artificially disconnected domains of fashion research and practice.

This research found that ageing, fashion, clothing, men and masculinities are not disjointed. Fashion and clothing was not only revealed as a valid and useful lens through which individuals’ experiences of ageing can be analysed and interpreted but also the experiences of men in this study proved to be rich and meaningful. A composition of the research outcomes consisted of a series of suit jackets, short films and written accounts offering novel insights into a particular sample of men’s individual and shared experiences of ageing.


 Northumbria University, School of Design in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Sapienza University of Rome are pleased to announce a 2 day event (Symposium and Workshop) that aims to explore attitudes and perceptions about creativity and innovation in design and how it is best facilitated, cultivated, exploited, and rewarded across different national and cultural borders, different environments, and cultures from both an individual designer’s perspective and design groups’ perspectives.


This 2 day event will encourage research exploration and coordinate action around a number of issues including:


·       How might creativity be adequately conceptualised in a design context?

·       What role do cultural organisations and national bodies play in harnessing creativity?

·       Do more effective environments and approaches for facilitating creativity exist?

·       What design skills, knowledge, and expertise are required for creativity?

·       What are the key drivers that motivate the creativity and innovation of designers and other stakeholders? Are they economical, cultural, social, political, technological or something else?


The 2 day event will be of interest to a wide range of researchers, educators, practitioners, and other stakeholders involved in creativity and innovation in design from an academic, industry and other institutional contexts.   


Tuesday 12th May 2015

Day 1 will comprise a series of keynote presentations from leading figures associated with creativity and innovation in design. The keynote speakers are:


·       Professor Maggie Boden, Research Professor of Cognitive Science, University of Sussex

·       Bill Nichol, University Lecturer Design & Technology Education, Cambridge University

·       Professor Tom Inns, Director, Glasgow School of Art

·       Sevra Davis, Associate Director of Design & Manager of the RSA Student Design Awards

·       Eliza Easton, Research Associate, Creative Industries Federation

·       Professor Sandy Black, Professor of Fashion and Textile Design, University of the Arts, London

·       Professor CJ Lim, UCL, Professor of Architecture & Urbanism, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

·       Ellie Runcie, Director of Future Programmes, Design Council

Wednesday 13th May 2015

Day 2 will involve a series of interactive hands-on workshop sessions. These will comprise a range of creative activities that will explore a number of issues emerging from Day 1 and more general issues such as:


·       How do we best conceptualise and/or define creativity in a design context?

·       What roles can cultural organisations and national bodies play in promoting and exploiting our creative potential?

·       What are the best conditions and approaches for facilitating and exploiting creativity?

·       What are the key skills, knowledge, and expertise required for creativity in design?

·       What motivates the creativity and innovation of designers and other stakeholders? Are they economical, cultural, social, political, technological or something else?


For more information and to book a place at this free 2 day event please visit:


Workshop Organisers:

Professor Paul Rodgers, Northumbria University, School of Design []

Professor Paul Jones, Northumbria University, Department of Architecture []

Professor Amaresh Chakrabarti, Centre for Product Design and Manufacture, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 

Professor Lorenzo Imbesi, Faculty of Product Design, Sapienza University of Rome


Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 15.56.25

This event brings together the Arcintex research community in smart textiles, architecture and interaction design, with the UKRC research project An Internet of Soft Things, concerned with the development of co-design methodologies for mental wellbeing service communities.

It will focus on the use of personal narratives in therapeutic practices, and the potential offered by environments augmented with smart textiles to enable new ways of creating, sharing and accessing stories. It will ask delegates to think about the ethical as well as technical dimensions involved in how we choose to render, interpret, save or analyse such narratives, and what this can mean for personal identity and growth.
For a full programme of workshops click here.




Camille Baker will be speaking at TEDx Brighton on 31st October, about her own wearable practice. Camille has a fascination with all things emotional, embodied, felt, sensed, the visceral, physical, relational, and participatory projects, that involve video, communication devices and biofeedback. She has been on a continuous quest to work with new and emerging technologies to explore expressive methods, via art and performance, to connect people with each other, over distance better and in more embodied, emotional ways.

The title of this year’s TEDx Brighton series is Many Hands. It will explore ideas around connectivity, convergence and community: “We’ll be looking at the prevalence of technology in the networked age, how our social networks can leave us feeling more isolated than ever and how, in our world surrounded by screens, we are driven to desire the physical. We’ll be exploring how intimacy looks in the modern age along with ideas of connectivity across distance, flash mobs, subcultures, the maker movement and how skills once commonplace within our locale, have become rarities akin to art.”

Tickets are available here.




Camille Baker and Melissa Coleman are facilitating a discussion forum called Stitch, Bitch, Make/Perform at the ‘Networked Bodies Digital Performance‘ event on Sunday November 9th 2-4:30pm. Their intention is to bring together industry, interaction designers, artists and performers, crafters, researchers and novices to learn, present, teach, discuss, make and collaborate, and to develop it into a cross-disciplinary research and education cluster/lab. Tickets to the event are available here.