Kenniscentrum faculteit Digitale Media & Creatieve Industrie

Can design confront consumerism?

A critical study of clothing volumes, personalization, and the wardrobe


This study discusses the quantity of clothing produced and consumed, its growth, and the environmental challenges associated with it.

Moreover, the study examines how the field of design has reacted to this issue, reflecting critically on the gap between the expected and the actual effects of design strategies aimed at reducing clothing demand. Clothing personalization and durability have been central strategies to that end; however, this research points out that their expected effects are based on partial historical views and simplistic perspectives of clothing consumption. Therefore, the study proceeds in offering an alternative perspective on clothing consumption building on the systemic nature of the wardrobe. Clothing demand rarely follows a logic of replacement: we do not usually buy new garments to replace discarded ones. Consumption practices are far more complex than that. Therefore, producing more meaningful or durable clothes tends to increase, rather than decrease, the size of the clothing mountain.

This project was developed by Irene Maldini (promovendus) under the supervision of Hein Daanen (HvA/VU), Javier Gimero Martínez (VU). En Pieter Jan Stappers (TUD).

12 mei 2020

Project Info

Startdatum 01 feb 2015
Einddatum 27 nov 2019


Lector Hein Daanen (supervisie)
Irene Maldini, researcher