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Title: The T-probe : a fashion-led approach to advance understanding of novel and challenging material concepts and sensory experiences
Author: Ivanova, Ninela
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 5426
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of this project was to pilot, assess and develop the globally worn everyday garment – the ‘humble’ T-shirt – as a wearable probe, defined in this research as the T-probe, to advance engagement with, and understanding of, challenging concepts relating to novel materials and sensory experiences. In the course of addressing this primary aim the research expanded into a three-part enquiry reflecting the complexity of factors involved in introducing novel material concepts via a design probe, and attaining sensory experience and perception data via the two-pronged approach of observation and self-reported measures. The value of the T-probe was thus explored via three separate but methodologically interlinked projects, selected based on common challenges associated with public perception and engagement: Project (I) Fungi materials for clothing: Explores perception of mould as a novel material for garment design and fabrication. Project (II) Fashion for deafblind people: Studies how a fashion experience may be introduced to a sensitive user group, i.e. people with visual and auditory impairment. Project (III) Synthetic ingredients for fine fragrance: Engages consumer understanding of synthetic ingredients in perfumery ii Research Project (I) was a pilot study based on the researcher’s personal design interest in the development and market introduction of novel biobased materials. Projects (II) and (III) were set up in partnerships with non-academic organisations: the charity for deafblind people Sense and the global company International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) respectively, to further test the value of the T-probe in advancing understanding of materials and sensory experiences within contexts of social and / or market interest (s). The findings of the research enquiry demonstrate that the T-shirt is well accepted and engaged with, and functions well as a probe in eliciting and enhancing participant sensory experience and perception of novel and challenging material concepts. By following a systematic approach to the design and implementation of the T-probe from concept to actualisation, this doctoral research project contributes to an advanced understanding of issues related to the design and application of probes to fulfil specific research and design objectives within the various evolutionary stages of materials, products, technologies, and consumer experiences.
Supervisor: Harris, Jane ; Micklethwaite, Paul ; Snyder, Lori Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; Kingston University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Art and design