Garments as healing spaces : conceptual clothing for emotional regulation, connection and resilience

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2023-08

Authors

Meinert, Maria Vidal

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Abstract

Garments as Healing Spaces is a conceptual project that uses conventional and experimental design methods to explore clothing as a form of personal architecture, with garments serving as “wearable spaces” for emotional regulation and embodied connection to self and others. Enclothed cognition describes “the powerful influence clothing has on our cognitive processes and behaviors.” (Adam and Galinsky, 2012). Like architecture, the materiality and symbolic meaning of our garments deeply affect us in overt and subconscious ways. Expanding on the parallels I see between clothing and interior space, I position myself as both designer and “client,” using a synthesis of human-centered and autoethnographic design methods to ideate and prototype a series of garments addressing the overwhelming anxiety, isolation and sense of dislocation I experienced during the early months of the Covid pandemic in 2020. This introspective and somatic process of designing for myself (design for one) resulted in a collection of garments and practices crafted to support my own agency, emotional well-being and resilience through the affordances, interactions and elements of ritual and care they provide.

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