Identity through Social Wearables: Designing with Finnish University Students

Felix Anand Epp, Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, Andrés Lucero, Tapio Takala

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


Wearable devices are often expressive and part of our social interactions. Fashion and ethnographic studies have argued for a perspective on socio-cultural practices in wearable design, while recent work in HCI only began to formalise social requirements for wearable design. Our work aimed to understand how cultural practices can inform wearable design. We conducted a ten-month field study on the practice of customising and wearing boiler suits (fi: opiskeljhaalarit) in the Finnish university student culture and co-designed concepts for social wearables using the dialogue-labs method. The most popular designs supported self-expression and belonging to a group, which comply with the students’ cultural practices of constructing social identity. We conclude that social wearables need to let users negotiate between differentiation and belonging to become part of everyday cultural practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordiCHI 2020 - Proceedings of the 11th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Subtitle of host publicationShaping Experiences, Shaping Society
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450375795
ISBN (Print)9781450375795
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventNordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Virtual, Online, Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 25 Oct 202029 Oct 2020
Conference number: 11


ConferenceNordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Abbreviated titleNordiCHI


  • Ethnographic Methods
  • Social Wearables
  • Cultural Practices
  • Co-Design
  • Fashion/Clothing


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