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Uncertainty and innovation in fashion design

Finn, Angela L. & Finn, Lee (2010) Uncertainty and innovation in fashion design. In Moda Global Fashion - Conference Proceedings CD, Centro de Estudos da Populacao, Economia e Sociedade, Porto, Portugal, pp. 1-26.

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Abstract

Generally speaking, psychologists have suggested three traditional views of how people cope with uncertainty. They are the certainty maximiser, the intuitive statistician-economist and the knowledge seeker (Smithson, 2008). In times of uncertainty, such as the recent global financial crisis, these coping methods often result in innovation in industry. Richards (2003) identifies innovation as different from creativity in that innovation aims to transform and implement rather than simply explore and invent. An examination of the work of iconic fashion designers, through case study and situational analysis, reveals that coping with uncertainty manifests itself in ways that have resulted in innovations in design, marketing methods, production and consumption. In relation to contemporary fashion, where many garments look the same in style, colour, cut and fit (Finn, 2008), the concept of innovation is an important one. This paper explores the role of uncertainty as a driver of innovation in fashion design. A key aspect of seeking knowledge, as a mechanism to cope with this uncertainty, is a return to basics. This is a problem for contemporary fashion designers who are no longer necessarily makers and therefore do not engage with the basic materials and methods of garment construction. In many cases design in fashion has become digital, communicated to an unseen, unknown production team via scanned image and specification alone. The disconnection between the design and the making of garments, as a result of decades of off-shore manufacturing, has limited the opportunity for this return to basics. The authors argue that the role of the fashion designer has become about the final product and as a result there is a lack of innovation in the process of making: in the form, fit and function of fashion garments. They propose that ‘knowledge seeking’ as a result of uncertainty in the fashion industry, in particular through re-examination of the methods of making, could hold the key to a new era of innovation in fashion design.

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ID Code: 40910
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Fashion, Psychology, Uncertainty, Innovation, Back to Basics, Creativity
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Textile and Fashion Design (120306)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Fashion
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Angela L Finn and Lee Finn
Deposited On: 24 Mar 2011 08:23
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 00:06

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