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


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