People usually see HCI/UX design as a freshly developed field that only applies to technological products. In the real world, it’s always been improving and incorporating our daily lives long before the term was verified.
I work in fashion. To be more specific, I am a textile designer but I have been implementing UX ideology into my designs since junior year of college. During my senior year, I had one runway show of my own, my own showcase at CFDA, and multiple press releases. I was living the fashion dream but something wasn’t right. Only after thorough self-reflection had I found myself feeling uneasy with the creative process and the thinking behind the fashion industry.
Some parallels in the creative process between the two fields:
Let’s take a deeper dive into the two creative processes:
UX is mostly human-centered design while Fashion is mostly body-centered design.
So what’s the problem?
After working in the fashion industry for a while, I have seen all the ugly behind it. First off, the head designer would hand down his/her inspiration to the design team. The design team then picked up the concept and started pinning similar inspos from Pinterest. The production team was always chasing after the cheapest trims, fabrics, and labors. Meanwhile, the social media team was curating the chicest Instagram post. The overseas factory workers were working their tails off. Little did they knew, those pieces were for New York fashion week.
Inspiration> Fashion show>Retail Delivery> Maturity> Unsold clothes> Decline
The two phases I am struggling with are Inspiration and Post-Decline.
Flaw#1 [Inspiration phase]
Is the user being put into consideration at all?
I talked to a friend who came from a similar visual design background and is now having trouble putting the users first due to the difference in inspiration approach. This is what she said:
“Fashion designers seek inspiration that will fulfill THEIR OWN creative soul whereas UX designers seek inspiration that will satisfy their users’ needs.”
Flaw #2 [Post-Deliver phase]
What happens after the delivery process?
We live in a world where everything needs to be up to date. For example, new software replacements and seasonal apparel updates. Updating, iterating, upcycling, and recycling can be costly and environmentally destructive. Some luxury brands burn their own goods on a regular basis. Shouldn’t we be more socially and environmentally responsible?
How can we put an end to this?
“Influence designers of all fields to consider human-centered design in every creative step.”
UX isn’t a field but a design practice that can help fashion designers design wiser. From the differences and parallels between the two fields above, the ideology of UX has taught me so much over the past 2 years. The design philosophy is interpretable as it might not be applicable and useful for everyone but it will give us a broader vision and a deeper understanding of our users.
Thank you for reading my creative growth journey!