– About the research of the value of clothing

What is the true value to a person wearing an item of clothing? How can designers and product developers create clothing that wearers can forge stronger bonds with, and perhaps choose to use for longer?

Viewed from a broader perspective, the product itself is only part of the reason why we choose to wear a certain garment and why we choose to discard it at a certain time. Both visible and invisible values play a role. Some values are unique to the individual, while others are shared by many people. Many of us own far more clothes than we think we do, and everyone is part of a circus in which we are constantly expected to display the updated, newest version of ourselves and our lives. No matter what we do, there always seems to be a newer version of us waiting just around the corner.

Research on the value of clothing concerns not only clothes, but also other product areas. As individuals, we have a major opportunity to take personal responsibility when we use our clothes, and we share this responsibility with everyone who plays an active part in the field of fashion.

About the exhibition

The exhibition is the first project, where Pia Mouwitz, researcher at The Swedish School of Textiles, is searching for the value of clothing. The exhibition was shown at Stockholm Fashion Week Jan/Feb 2015 at HV Gallery, Sweden together with Nothing to wear, the second project about the value of clothing. Nothing to wear and To make clothes that matter are exhibited at Textilmuseet, Boras Sweden, September 2015.

To make clothes that matter
The project, ‘To make clothes that matter‘, took place at The Swedish School of Textiles, in Boras Sweden, already during the fall of 2013. The starting point of this project is traditions in various fields of clothing, where the designers derive their ideas from different clothing traditions. Their backgrounds represent a mix of the newest as well as more mature, practical knowledge from the field. In this work, the word “value” is used to tell if an aspect of a garment is valuable to a person. If we bond to a garment, we will probably keep it and use it longer. Values cannot always be seen merely by looking at a garment. We judge our clothing as well as what other people wear by reflecting on what we see, namely the aesthetic values. The individual perception of what we see is related to a number of things, for instance our previous experiences, habits, culture, context and it is also a judgment based on our own traditions.

The aim is to find out how selected values can be used in the design process in order to communicate the values of clothes. Can we, by including and communicating selected values, make clothes that matter?

Designers from the fashion and clothing industry as well as some design students from The Swedish School of Textiles, Konstfack University College of Art, Crafts and Design and Beckmans College of Design met in Boras to jointly research the values of clothes. Each designer shares her practice and also jointly discusses the values of their and others’ works. Having a strong and vivid variation of knowhow within design and the art of clothing is a fundamental idea of this project. Including skills from various traditions makes it possible, not only for the designers themselves but also for me in my research, to look at values from different angles, as well as more obvious values which can be seen visually and those that might be hidden at first sight.

Download the Report To make clothes that matter – From tradition to new design aesthetic

The project To make clothes that matter, in 2013 was the start of practice based research by Pia Mouwitz, Senior Lecturer at The Swedish School of Textiles. The project is a part of the EU financed project ‘Baltic Fashion‘.

About The Baltic Fashion 
The Swedish School of Textiles has been the Swedish national contact for the EU financed Baltic Fashion project, which aims to promote fashion. The fashion sector in the countries around the Baltic Sea has long textile traditions. The challenge is how the fashion sector can grow in the future. Seven countries are participating: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Sweden. More information:

Between 2011-2013, activities and research have been carried out within various subjects such as ‘Smart textiles and wearable technology’ and ‘Apparel manufacturers in Sweden’. ‘To make clothes that matter’ is the last Swedish project, within Baltic Fashion, performed during the Fall 2013, and published on the web,16 December 2013.

Pia Mouwitz, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design at the Swedish School of Textiles was leading the Swedish part of the Baltic Fashion project Lisbeth Svengren Holm, Professor in Fashion Management and was supervisor of the research projects in the Baltic Fashion project.

About The Swedish School of Textiles, Boras, Sweden
The Swedish School of Textiles in Boras is regarded one of Europe’s most interesting education arenas in fashion and textiles. This is a multidisciplinary environment where practical experience is combined with research in artistic development. The Swedish School of Textiles offer education programs at bachelor and master level in design, management and technology with access to extraordinary technology as well as specially equipped laboratories.