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Tech Fashion: Fashion Institutionalization in Digital Technology
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences. (Mobile Life Center)
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores aesthetization in general and fashion in particular in digital technology design and how we can design digital technology to account for the extended influences of fashion. The thesis applies a combination of methods to explore the new design space at the intersection of fashion and technology. First, it contributes to theoretical understandings of aesthetization and fashion institutionalization that influence digital technology design. We show that there is an unstable aesthetization in mobile design and the increased aesthetization is closely related to the fashion industry. Fashion emerged through shared institutional activities, which are usually in the form of action nets in the design of digital devices. “Tech Fashion” is proposed to interpret such dynamic action nets of institutional arrangements that make digital technology fashionable and desirable. Second, through associative design research, we have designed and developed two prototypes that account for institutionalized fashion values, such as the concept “outfit-centric accessory.” We call for a more extensive collaboration between fashion design and interaction design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2016. , 107 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 16-009
Keyword [en]
Fashion, Mobile technology, aesthetics, wearable, institutionalization
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130200ISBN: 978-91-7649-465-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-130200DiVA: diva2:931197
Public defence
2016-09-02, L30, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Accepted. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-06-09 Created: 2016-05-10 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The “life and death” of great Finnish fashion phone: A periodization of changing styles in Nokia phone design between 1992 and 2013
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The “life and death” of great Finnish fashion phone: A periodization of changing styles in Nokia phone design between 1992 and 2013
2016 (English)In: Mobile Media & Communication, ISSN 2050-1579, Vol. 4, no 3, 385-404 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Visual aesthetics is an essential part of our experience of mobile devices, but the ways in which it is accounted for in design have largely been overlooked. We investigate whether an aesthetization of mobile design is taking place and, if so, how it is being pursued through institutional practices in organizations. We conduct a visual analysis of all Nokia phone releases between 1992 and 2013 complemented by an interview series with key actors. The study reveals a continuous increase in aesthetic variation between 1998 and 2008, which is visible in the variation of colors, forms and materials. The period between 2003 and 2008, which we term the Grand period, marks the peak of aesthetization of Nokia’s devices. It exhibits great variation, and is visibly similar to aesthetics in the fashion industry. With the introduction of the slate form, we see a decrease in visual variation between 2009 and 2013. The interviews reveal how the visual design was driven by organizational strategies, such as customer segmentation in general, and an orientation toward the fashion industry, e.g. in the creation of a fashion segment. The study reveals how aesthetic variation is weaved into a complex innovation system with sometimes conflicting demands deriving from e.g. technology and user interaction.

Keyword
Mobile phone design, aesthetization, fashion, visual variation, periodization, Nokia
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130504 (URN)10.1177/2050157916654510 (DOI)
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2016-05-24 Created: 2016-05-24 Last updated: 2017-04-24Bibliographically approved
2. Fashion in Mobile Phone Design – The Emergence of Beautification, Desirability and Variation through Institutional Collaboration
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fashion in Mobile Phone Design – The Emergence of Beautification, Desirability and Variation through Institutional Collaboration
2016 (English)In: Fashion Practice: the journal of design, creative process & the fashion industry, ISSN 1756-9370, E-ISSN 1756-9389, Vol. 8, no 1, 63-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We study if and how fashion values, such as beautification, desirability through symbolic interaction, and high variation, are increasingly visible in mobile phone design. We unpack such possible inter-linkages by interviewing eight representatives of both industries. Their comments allow us to discuss whether a process of fashionalization is underway and, if so, how it is taking place. Our findings indicate that fashion values are visible in the design of mobile phones and are accounted for in design. Fashionalization can thus be seen as emanating from institutions related to clothing that extend to and become shared with the mobile industry, such as a shared dependency on trend agencies for color selection and joint events. This interaction, ad hoc and heterogeneous, resists being modeled as a “system,” which has been suggested as a way to explain institutional work within clothing fashion. Drawing on Barbara Czarniawska’s institutional theory, we propose conceptualizing the emerging institutional work in terms of “action nets.” This concept makes visible flexible, situated, and ad hoc activities rather than stable and fixed organizational entities.

Keyword
action nets, color trends, fashion-ology, institutions, mobile phone design
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130547 (URN)10.1080/17569370.2016.1147807 (DOI)000389940100006 ()
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2016-05-25 Created: 2016-05-25 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
3. Unpacking Social Interaction that Make us Adore: On the Aesthetics of Mobile Phones as Fashion Items
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unpacking Social Interaction that Make us Adore: On the Aesthetics of Mobile Phones as Fashion Items
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2011, 241-250 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We report on a study of fashionable people’s expressions of opinions on mobile phones in online fashion media, such as blogs and magazines. First, the study contributes to our understanding of the role of pragmatic philosophy, which is now dominating HCI both as a guide for design and as a guide when looking at social practices, in outlining the role of aesthetics in experience design. Fashion practices di-verge from this theory, since here aesthetic appearances can be visual, ambiguous and incomplete although it still pro-vides a lot of meanings for people. We argue that our find-ings should influence the discussion in HCI to consider a less theoretically oriented aesthetic approach, where instead empirical studies get at the forefront. Second, the study provides valuable insight on how we should design mobile experiences to attract more attention from people interested in fashion. Mobile phones, and their services, can for ex-ample be designed to relate to the visual appearance of the dressed outfit, or ensemble of a person.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2011
Keyword
aesthetics, mobile design, fashion media, qualitative content analysis, design
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126593 (URN)10.1145/2037373.2037410 (DOI)978-1-4503-0541-9 (ISBN)
Conference
MobileHCI 2011, 13th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Stockholm, Sweden, August 30 - September 02, 2011
Projects
mFashion
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2016-02-08 Created: 2016-02-08 Last updated: 2016-07-01Bibliographically approved
4. Fashionable Shape Switching: Explorations in Outfit-centric Design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fashionable Shape Switching: Explorations in Outfit-centric Design
2013 (English)In: CHI '13 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2013, 1353-1362 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We present a design exercise illustrating how fashion practices and the fashion design process can be used to create new opportunities both in the mobile domain and in product design, as well as in wearable computing. We investigate the concept of outfit-centric design by extending the support for social and visual interaction with digital devices beyond the currently available shells and stickers, and drawing on the ways in which people vary their dress ensembles. We designed a set of mock-up samples in a local fashion style, as a first step in under-standing possible applications of the emerging technology of organic interfaces. Initial user feedback shows how fashion-conscious participants creatively experimented with the set’s variations of shape and color in outfits created from their personal wardrobes, which revealed the importance of the objects’ size and location on the body. It also points out that a lack of integration with the fashion system’s processes reduces the attractiveness of the samples.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2013
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97727 (URN)10.1145/2470654.2466178 (DOI)978-1-4503-1899-0 (ISBN)
Conference
CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Paris, France, April 27 - May 02, 2013
Available from: 2013-12-17 Created: 2013-12-17 Last updated: 2016-05-26Bibliographically approved
5. Fashionable Services for Wearables: Inventing and Investigating a New Design Path for Smart Watches
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fashionable Services for Wearables: Inventing and Investigating a New Design Path for Smart Watches
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2016, 49Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

With the advent of wearable devices equipped with publicly visible screens, we argue for the need to apply fashion thinking in designing their visual expression. The screen provides endless variations of visual expression, beyond traditional clothing. The topic motivates us to investigate the potential of assembling “fashion thinking” with services generation, to create new forms of use that wearers will adore, as they do with clothes. Disregarding fashion thinking in wearable design might lead to user dissatisfaction and missed opportunities. In an explorative design study we triangulate three methods i.e. a small study on the use of smart watches in dressing practices; an invention and design of a service called “Watch for Figuracy”, with a watch face contextually dependent on the wearer’s dressed ensemble, and finally an initial user feedback study. Altogether they indicate the potential of fashion wearable hybrids and shortcomings in utilizing color theory for matching the watch face to the outfit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2016
Keyword
Wearables, fashion, smart watches, outfit, watch face, design triangulation
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI); Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130509 (URN)10.1145/2971485.2971505 (DOI)978-1-4503-4763-1 (ISBN)
Conference
NordiCHI 2016, 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Gothenburg, Sweden, October 23-27, 2016
Funder
Vattenfall AB
Available from: 2016-05-24 Created: 2016-05-24 Last updated: 2017-12-15Bibliographically approved

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