Empathy and Design. Affective Participations for Clothing Design in Colombia

Claudia Fernández-Silva

Ángela María Echeverri-Jaramillo

Sandra Marcela Vélez-Granda

Abstract

Both practice and education in clothing design in Latin American countries such as Colombia, have been focused on the stylistic production of forms directed towards accelerated consumption, under the premises of fashion trends. Consequently, different social problems centered in the relation body-artifact are left behind, especially those from minority groups, like the people who live in poverty, disability, rural contexts, and forced displacement, amongst others. These conditions require an approach from clothing design that addresses, not only the operational and functional aspects, but also those linked to an understanding from the intuitive, affective and emotional factors of their surrounding world.

This paper shows the outcomes of several projects carried out by the Faculty of Clothing Design at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. They have focused on the improvement of various human conditions like literacy, civics and communal living of children, teenagers and adults who coexist in violent contexts. It also shows the outcomes of projects where the creation and use of wardrobe devices work as collective memory reconstruction processes with victims of the armed conflict, and self-management processes with communities to identify and let them participate in their own needs resolution.

These projects use different methodologies that appeal to literature reviews and interviews with experts, while the class is taken to the place where the communities coexist and carry out their everyday routine. It is here where the design students and teachers join the daily activities of the different groups in participant and non-participant observations, audio-visual record, statistical study of the population and characterization of the communities, as well as an analysis of the devices and environments where their daily life takes place. We find, then, outcomes that are artefacts working as narratives which suggest a different way of telling the story of our Country. These projects’ development and outcomes are the result of a co-creative and empathic job amongst the different communities, the teachers and students from the Faculty of Clothing Design. The aforementioned has fostered feelings of affective participation among the different participants of the projects, thus, linking subjects and practices.

The development of this project and its results also raise different considerations about the teaching of design in Colombia, strongly related to the more contemporary positions of human centered design, critical design, autonomous design, and design for behavioral change, all which appeal to the commitment design professionals have with the people, their contexts and their particular situations.

Cite this paper as:

Fernández-Silva C., Echeverri-Jaramillo Á.M., Vélez-Granda S.M. (2019) Empathy and Design. Affective Participations for Clothing Design in Colombia. In: Fukuda S. (eds) Advances in Affective and Pleasurable Design. AHFE 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 774. Springer, Cham

DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94944-4_22

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