Effective development of functional apparel products, such as protective apparel, requires a holistic approach and an in-depth analysis of design requirements. Typically, a vast number of competing requirements must be addressed. The design and development process must not only provide a detailed analysis of product requirements, but must also facilitate organizing and prioritizing those requirements in a way that clarifies the optimum design solution. This paper will describe a unique and integrative process for designing functional apparel.
The integrative process requires a diverse research team and four major thrusts; design analysis, materials analysis, design development and evaluation. Design analysis involves study of the end user and of existing products including body movement, garment fit, comfort, strengths and weaknesses of existing products, and end user perceived requirements. Strategies such as observation, analysis of body movement, interviews, and critical assessment of existing products may be used. Materials analysis focuses on the performance aspects of textiles for a product design. Materials aspects that may be of concern include barrier properties, hand properties, and thermal properties of materials and seam structures. Design development is accomplished in two steps. First a series of grid structures is used to analyze and prioritize requirements. Second, multiple design solutions are created to address the prioritized requirements. Solutions may involve developing materials as well as garment design. Finally, evaluation including analysis of newly developed materials as well as fit, comfort and performance of the product is required to determine the optimum design.
This integrative process facilitates a holistic approach to the design problem and a more effective design solution. Although it appears linear, in practice it is a dynamic, evolving process requiring constant assessment and reassessment of requirements and constant i
By: Traci May-Plumlee North Carolina State University, USA
Submit Date: 6/7/2010 18:00