Style before technology: rethinking the design process for E-textiles garments

Amy Chen, Jeanne Tan, Xiaoming Tao, Philip Henry

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


This paper recommends the inclusion of E-textiles in fashion not necessarily as the addition of electronic components onto the fabric, but as the integration of working mechanisms into the textile and garment design, in order to fulfil aesthetic and functional design requirements. This paper describes the preliminary research into haptic feedback textiles, to illustrate a methodology that can be undertaken to develop E-textiles garments with a closer integration of fashion and function. E-textiles garments can often be considered as a less than seamless combination of fashion and electronics. Existing examples in fashion often appear to simply apply electronic components to a finished fashion garment, rather than an integrated design process. The inherent change of the two fields, soft fabrics versus rigid printed circuit boards, contributes to this situation. This paper reviews research that has brought the two fields closer together: the development of E-textiles construction kits, textiles-based electronics components and embodied design using E-textiles. E-textiles construction kits, while readily available, are targeted towards teaching and learning, rather than as a tool for design. Textiles-based electronic components have primarily been researched from the technological perspective, with the latest developments seeming far removed from the field of fashion and textiles design. While the embodied design process can be used to create more meaningful human garment interaction, it does not address E-textiles within a fashion design process, a process that must balance different design requirements, outlined in Lamb and Kallal (1992) Functional, Expressive and Aesthetic model. This paper has sought to address the complex nature of E-textile in a fashion design process by presenting a hypothetical E-textiles fashion methodology. It has been developed following
a review of design processes undertaken within fashion and E-textiles design, as well as original preliminary practice-based research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes Conference - IFFTI 2019
Subtitle of host publicationFashion: ID
EditorsMelanie Miller
PublisherManchester Metropolitan University
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781910029442
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes Conference 2019 - Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Apr 201912 Apr 2019
Conference number: 21


ConferenceInternational Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleIFFTI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Style before technology: rethinking the design process for E-textiles garments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this