Joyful participation…

…in new ways of designing and making clothes.

– Enabling person-product attachment to potentially reduce unnecessary consumption.


Joyful user-participation in design processes can be recognized as an emerging trend within different design disciplines. My recently finalized master’s thesis is thus exploring this trend within fashion and clothing. The vast amount of fast fashion and clothing consumption and disposal l made me wonder if and what possibilities design can offer to feasibly change human behaviour towards slower consumption cycles?

I see fashion and clothing, as a great medium to transfer sustainable habits into other areas of daily life as well. Clothes are a objects, which we deal with every day, and thus can make a responsible decision and statement every day. My thesis combines a literature review with three different practice-led case studies.

What follows is the official abstract:

This master’s thesis investigates design opportunities to motivate and enable sustainable consumer behaviour, especially regarding wasteful fashion and clothing consumption. A literature review provides a theoretical framework and builds background knowledge for three explorative case studies. These practice-led case studies gradually increase the user-involvement in sustainable consumption behaviour. Each case study elaborates a particular research question, evaluating the opportunities to change consumer behaviour with a different design approach. The case studies build upon one another, thus the third case study is discussed in most detail. Selected findings from these three case studies provide an insight to the possibilities of design for person-product attachment with participatory design concepts like ‘half-way products’: design objects which are intentionally ‘unfinished’.

The conclusion drawn is that designers can enable a joyful participation in clothes making, for example with half-way products, and thus foster a stronger emotional value towards garments. This emotional value is likely to facilitate a stronger person-product attachment and encourage longer lasting products. Additionally, the research shows that the participatory design concept – ‘half-way product’ was very much appreciated. The study concludes with possible future prospects.

To spice up the reader experience, I worked with photographs accompanied by quotes from the text, to enable a fun and easy read, even if you just flip through the book, one or two facts will hopefully catch you thinking. Below are some images of the workshops and the book. If you would like to see the hardcopy its available in Aalto ARTS library, or the PDF can be found here: Preview_MA_Thesis

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me: al.hirscher(at)

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Further links of interest:

Thesis blog:

Project Make{able} initiated through the case studies:

Published papers regarding the same subject:


About alh

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