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Designing for multiple expressions: Questioning permanence as a sign of quality in textiles
University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1589-4118
2019 (English)In: The Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 201-221Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Developing alternative materials and methods of production and recycling is crucial to achieving more sustainable, circular textile practices. In addition to these, a shift in how textiles are perceived may well be needed. Textile practice has long sought to create textiles that, regardless of their material or post-production treatments do not subsequently change in expression, eliminating the fading of colors and wearing out of materials. Questioning this in order to evaluate quality, durability, and aesthetics may open up for greater circularity through extending product lifetimes, and allowing change to be embraced rather than delaying the signs of aging. This paper presents work that challenges the notion of permanence as a sign of quality in textiles by shifting the focus towards creating textiles that are capable of developing different visual expressions over time.

By examining the natural changes in color of materials in plain and Jacquard-patterned woven textiles made of several materials, this paper explores the possibilities relating to designing textile patterns that can evolve in multiple different directions from one starting point. Textiles woven with a combination of different materials were used in various contexts, including outdoors, in order to explore how the materials reacted. The resulting color combinations varied depending on what conditions the material was exposed to, suggesting a more versatile view on the aesthetics of textiles.

The results indicate that various colors, patterns, and structures can be achieved from one starting point, indicating that an alternative definition for quality, based on the aesthetics of change, may be viable. The natural aging of materials could be used in design processes to embed evolving patterns, colors, or structures in textiles, reconnecting textile products with the inherent, changeable qualities of materials. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 6, no 2, p. 201-221
Keywords [en]
textile design, sustainability, circularity, lifespan, evolving patterns
National Category
Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15989DOI: 10.1080/20511787.2018.1514697OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-15989DiVA, id: diva2:1305170
Available from: 2019-04-15 Created: 2019-04-15 Last updated: 2022-04-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Changeability as a quality in textile design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changeability as a quality in textile design
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The tendency to wear out and change is inherent in most materials, but – aside from a few exceptions – has been considered to be undesirable by both the industry and consumers. The work presented in this licentiate thesis suggests that, due to change in some form being an inherent property of textiles, it may be viable to look for alternative ways of designing and perceiving textiles that accept change as one of their qualities.

 The experimental work explores change as a quality in textiles from the perspective of the textile material, and examines irreversible changes in textiles from three different perspectives: form, use, and teaching changeability in the field of textile design. Changes in colour, pattern, texture, and structure were explored by developing knitted and woven textiles using materials with pronounced changeable properties, and exposing these to various stimuli, such as outdoor conditions and use in workshops.

The experiments suggest that the combination of material and structure defines how textiles change when exposed to various stimuli. A material’s properties define what the textile reacts to and how, while the structure of the textile influences how it changes through the amount and placement of materials. In addition, time and the handling of a textile shape the exact changes that take place.

Designing with changeability as a quality in textiles opens up for alternative possibilities as regards creating expressions, wherein time and change are design variables alongside more traditional qualities, and could encourage a diversity of lifespans and changes over various timescales, better connecting textiles to the properties of their raw materials. This may mean that an alternative method for evaluating quality based on change instead of permanence could be viable, wherein the notion of permanence as a sign of quality in textiles is questioned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Högskolan i Borås, 2019
Series
University of Borås studies in artistic research ; 28
National Category
Design
Research subject
Textiles and Fashion (Design)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15990 (URN)978-91-88838-30-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-04-23 Created: 2019-04-15 Last updated: 2019-04-23Bibliographically approved
2. Designing for changeability in textiles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing for changeability in textiles
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

The tendency to wear out and change is inherent in most materials, yet textiles are usually designed to retain a single expression. Within an experimental, practical work, materials that are inherently changeable were used to create woven and knitted structures in order to approach textiles from the perspective of changeability and explore what this might mean for the field of textile design. This was undertaken in order to improve our understanding of what designing textiles that change over time means for the practice of designing textiles.

The experiments explored changes in colour, texture, and structure within single textiles, and used textural changes to create form based on three variables: material, textile structure, and the stimuli textiles were exposed to. Further experiments explored the potential applications of these textiles in the context of fashion and interiors. The outcomes of the experiments showed that how materials are treated and used influences a textile’s expression and properties and how these change over time. 

The research presented in this thesis suggests an alternative way of perceiving and designing textiles: as things that are changeable. The changes in the properties, expressions, aesthetics, and uses of textiles could be embedded during the design process through three interconnected variables: time, change, and context of use. This further suggests an alternative conception of quality for textiles which is based on the aesthetics of change, in terms of when, how, and as a result of what a textile changes. Such a perspective could even encourage an increased acceptance of changes occurring in textiles, and help to re-establish a connection between people, the textiles that surround them, and the materials that textiles are made of.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2022. p. 393
Series
University of Borås studies in artistic research ; 41
National Category
Design
Research subject
Textiles and Fashion (Design)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-27656 (URN)978-91-89271-62-3 (ISBN)978-91-89271-63-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-05-18, Borås, 13:00 (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-04-25 Created: 2022-03-17 Last updated: 2022-04-20Bibliographically approved

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