Fashion Designers' Authorship and Professionalism in Contemporary Technological Environments

Tutkimustuotos: Artikkeli kirjassa/konferenssijulkaisussaPosterScientificvertaisarvioitu


Background : Fashion designers’ authorship is a complex and under-analyzed topic, encountering new challenges in the face of the digitalized network society and the ”Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Individuality, originality, and newness have been at the core of the fashion design culture and education since the times of the first fashion designer, couturier and fashion artist, C.F. Worth. In line with the Romantic notion of authorship with its roots in humanism, industrialization, and emergence of the copyright law, the designer-centeredness has dominated the fashion industry for over 150 years. However, the nature of the fashion system and design processes is rather collective as the creative output is influenced polyphonically by numerous professionals and practical boundaries. A number of fashion scholars, designers, and companies, intentionally or unintentionally, contest the traditional designer-centeredness by applying co-design and mass-customization or open-source approaches. The increasing datafication, the developing artificial intelligence utilization, blockchain possibilities, as well as the virtual 3D-realm with its digital-only clothing force to rethink the dimensions of fashion designer authorship, expertise, materiality, embodiment as well as the human subject.

Research methodology: This research contributes to the field of fashion studies and design research, drawing theoretically and methodologically from sociology of professions and theorization on authorship and post-humanism. The traditional ”author-function” of fashion designers is contrasted with the distributed, non-human and materially-based authorship approaches in fashion through literature analysis and empirical investigation. My qualitative empirical multiple-case study research focuses on technologically advanced ”fashion 4.0” design practices, where the creation happens in virtual spaces and/or is shared with non-professionals, networks or machines, contesting the professional conventions. The research material consists of primary and secondary data. The primary data are collected ethnographically through semi-structured interviews, survey and field observation. The secondary data constitutes any available written or spoken data on the projects, such as media publications, literature, webpage content, and talks. The interviews are recorded and transcribed, and the field notes turned into field reports, both complemented with required meta-data. The collected data are organized and analyzed using a theory-driven thematic analysis method.

Expected results: This research will produce an article-based dissertation, consisting from five peer-reviewed publications: one conference paper, one book chapter and three journal articles. An introductory section of the dissertation will present the context, theoretical framework, methodology, and findings of the whole research project. This thesis will provide new knowledge regarding the contemporary digitally enabled fashion design practices with insights into the reconstructed dimensions of fashion design authorship and work.

Potential impacts: The outcome contributes to the further development of professional self-awareness and the authorial ethics of fashion designers in post-industrial society. The findings can be valuable for fashion design education, sustainability projects, fashion businesses, lawyers, fashion professionals and designers in general. Data and results can be used for follow-up research within several fields.
TilaJulkaistu - 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiEi oikeutettu
TapahtumaDesign Research Society International Conference - Virtual, Online, Austraalia
Kesto: 11 elok. 202014 elok. 2020


ConferenceDesign Research Society International Conference
KaupunkiVirtual, Online
MuuVirtual Conference


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