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Towards new fashion design education: learning virtual prototyping using E-textiles

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Abstract

Fashion designers in the digital era will be expected to have a profound knowledge of programming and physical computing. Therefore, finding effective methods to adopt E-textiles in fashion education is developing imperative furtherance. E-textiles are clothes embedded with microcomputers, digital components (sensor, LED), and other electronic devices. Existing E-textile platforms, such as LilyPad Arduino tutorials, have a high entry barrier because they are complicated for students who are not familiar with programming and engineering. Additionally, the stitching step using conductive thread that makes it difficult to reuse components. This can make it prohibitively expensive for beginners, given the trial-and-error process involved in the learning. In this context, this study aims to identify effective methods to adopt E-textiles in fashion schools. To design a user-friendly application that allows students to learn more easily, we conducted a user study and acquired the feedback from students in fashion schools. Based on the result of the analysis, we developed two versions of a web-based tool called Virtual Prototyping for E-textiles learning. One version included a task-oriented method while the other adopted a more explorative-oriented method. Users can connect virtually with electronic parts, practice programming, and learn circuit diagrams while using the application. We compared our prototype with an existing program through a user test on “perceived usability,” “applicability,” and “learning effect.” Results show that our prototype can be applied to fashion schools in the near future. It will also be beneficial to studies in related design fields.

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Correspondence to Jaehong Ahn.

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Han, A., Wohn, K. & Ahn, J. Towards new fashion design education: learning virtual prototyping using E-textiles. Int J Technol Des Educ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-019-09558-w

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Keywords

  • Fashion
  • Design
  • Education
  • E-textiles
  • Virtual prototyping