Laverty / Sensory Nourishment

Sensory Nourishment Consciously Crafting Sensations in Clothing Design to Support Diverse Sensory Needs

Author: Maureen Selina Laverty, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Supervisor: Trond Are Øritsland, Associate Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Pauline van Dongen, Eindhoven University of Technology

Research stage: initial doctoral stage

Category: Extended abstract


Clothes are the most intimate artefacts that touch our skin. Our moving bodies are shaping and being shaped by what we wear. The sensations that unfold inevitably influence our well-being, whether we are conscious of it or not. As designers we are always crafting sensations. However, existing design practices do not always allow space for the conscious consideration of their impact.

My ongoing practice-based PhD research collaborates with people on the autism spectrum, with heightened sensory responses, who can become overwhelmed by these sensations. I will present initial insights from wardrobe studies with my participants. These are insights into how they want to feel in their clothes: physically, emotionally and socially. I will also introduce thoughts on how I will uses phenomenologically design driven research to explore how we can consciously craft kinaesthetic-dialogues through a soma design process.

Keywords: autism spectrum, inclusive design, clothing design