Research for fashion-tech

How do you support students of fashion-tech to understand the value of research, develop individual research approaches and apply research outcomes to their practice? Research is vital for fashion tech projects as they often rely on new technologies, materials or aesthetics. But research means different things to different disciplines and communities, and sometimes is not foregrounded or explicitly defined in the creative process. 

Fashion-tech products can draw on knowledge from academic research literature; fashion and trend literature; lab-based, controlled studies; design theory and practice; in-the-wild, social studies and even knowledge generated through the experiencing body of the designer/researcher themselves. Working at the intersection of all these areas of research means that fashion tech designers need to be highly interdisciplinary. 

As interdisciplinary practitioners in training you will often need to support students to combine various types of research in their projects, some will be familiar and some novel. This workshop framework introduces the need for research and basic research concepts, then defines the most relevant methods, where and when to use them and why they may be appropriate to use when researching fashion tech. It also highlights which methods may or may not be compatible. You can choose to focus on one, or combine several. This is not an exhaustive list and you should also consider your knowledge of research practices from your own background, whether it be design, engineering or marketing. 

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