University of Delaware

Undergraduate Research Program

Wearing Well-Being

Researcher(s)

  • Amanda Raker, , University of Delaware

Faculty Mentor(s)

  • Kelly Cobb, Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware

Abstract

My 2016 Service-Learning Scholarship involved design research that studied the benefits of contextmapping and co-design. “Contextmapping is a user-centered design approach that involves the user as the ‘expert on his or her experience’.” Co-design, “allows users to become an active part of the creative development of a product by interacting directly with design and research teams.” Our community partner was The Newark Senior Center. We collaborated with the Meeting of The Minds Program, a creative therapy group for people experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The participants in this program helped create design inspiration through their memories and stories.

Research was conducted during on-site sessions concurrent with studio production in the Fashion CAD lab. The first session was a semi-structured interview. We asked our participants a series of questions to stimulate their creative minds, memories and narratives such as “,favorite type of animal,” or “,what was your favorite outfit growing up,” we were able to conduct the context-mapping activity by having the participants make collages with images we sourced after their interviews. Using the collages, we digitally designed composite patterns and generated pattern for textile production using Adobe Photoshop. Textile patterned yardage was printed through Spoonflower printing. Textiles are now being developed into customized “dream” garments. Findings from the study revealed that using this design approach to create a textile narrative was a positive experience for the participants’ well-being. We found the interviews and observations of the participants beneficial for generating individualized imagery for the contextmapping exercise. Allowing participants to express themselves through the imagery from the collages was both informational and inspirational in creating wearable narratives.

References:
Sleeswijk Visser, F.S., Stappers, P.J., Van der Lugt, R., & Sanders, E. B.-N. (2005). Contextmapping: Experiences from practice. CoDesign: International journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, 1(2), 119-149.
Naranjo Bock, Catalina, Creativity-based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users
(2012)