Design in the Textile and Fashion Industry

The project brought together researchers and students from different fields, from interaction and textile design to design studies, conversation analysis and business and relationship management. The different disciplines collaborated in a series of smaller sub projects, exploring different aspects and themees related to fashion and textiles: branding, designer’s roles and practices, the role of isntitutions and its relation to fashion, and contemporary consumption practices in alternative fashion spaces, such as second hand shops. The project has been an opportunity to explore these different aspects through different lenses, bringing together interests and perspectives in an exploratory manner. As part of the porject, the team established contact with the CRISP project in the Netherlands, with particular focus on their reserach on smart textiles.

The project investigates designer roles and identities, business development, stakeholders, fashion spaces, brand heritage and customer experiences.

The sheer number of textile and fashion companies points to fashion as the largest field of design activity around Kolding. In autumn 2013 we therefore chose fashion as an open research topic to explore and develop interdisciplinary collaboration between social, technical, cultural and aesthetic disciplines

As a seed project, the overall aim was to initiate multidisciplinary investigations, identify cases and research topics with a potential for larger projects and to start co-authored publications. We appreciated the heterogeneity of the textile and fashion field as an interesting challenge. It opened a range of topics,  from technical aspects of textiles to market and media aspects of fashion.

After an initial mapping of the relevant industries of the areas and fashion spaces (especially retail spaces) the group chose a range of cases that were investigated and discussed throughout the semester.


  • La Maison Justian Kunz
  • Uniforms for Hospitals, Region Midtjylland
  • Design for Change
  • 2nd Hand Shops
  • Fashion Store Design
  • Georg Jensen Damask

Research Questions

A number of research questions emerged in the interdisciplinary discussions about these cases. They point to many links between the cases and the involved research disciplines. The questions concern:

  • roles and identities of designers. How do they through communication and interaction influence creativity and business development?
  • the different stakeholders in design processes which create the singular dress as well as the mass-produced uniform which might be in use for the next 30 years,
  • fashion logics and time cycles in uniforms and in 2nd hand clothes,
  • competences in tactile and visual experience of garments,
  • spatial and mediated experiences of brand spaces, museum exhibitions and domestic interiors,
  • the role of identity and history in marketing and consumption of both fashion and home textiles.

Most of the collaborative investigations and discussions of the see project continue in current projects as Creativity kills Business? (Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Interaction/Discourse); Uniforms & Fashion (Design Studies,  & Design Antropology); Perception of textiles – experiences and skills (Interaction Design & Textile Design); Fashion Design for Change / Sustainability (Textile Design & Business); Time modalities in fashion and brand heritage, retro and design classics brand heritage on new retail and media conditions (Design Culture & Business).

Activities and Outcome

Study trip to Eindhoven visiting the Smart Textile group at TU Eindhoven and the CRISP conference plus Dutch Design Week.

The project used student assistance to collect and process data about Justian Kunz, Design for Change, Katvig and Georg Jensen Damask with financial support from both the Kolding School of Design, SDU-Dept. of Design and Communication and the SDUDesign program.

“It Really Tied the Room together” was an exhibition at the Trapholt Museum for Art and Design, December 4-17, 2013, that addressed the role of home textiles in interior design and questioning their status behind furniture design in conventional design exhibitions. This exhibition was produced by master students at Design Studies, Dept. of Design and Communication, as part of the project.

On December 12 the textile designer Puk Lippmann and the head of Verpan, Peter Frandsen gave talks at the exhibition.

Papers on fashion store design have been published as a result of the project. Co-authored papers in the pipeline are on their way.

Case studies of the home textile firm Georg Jensen Damask and of the childrens’ fashion firm Katvig will be part of a Danish anthology about Design Culture Analysis at the University of Southern Denmark Press.

The exhibition It Really Tied the Room Together, Trapholt Museum of Art and Design, Kolding