Changing bodies - Size changing clothes

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Design
The fashion and clothing needs of the transgender population are not being met. Through literature review, tactile knowledge, and practical research, this thesis provides an overview and possible solutions to this problem. The thesis discusses transgender fashion from three different angles. It first provides an overview of Fashion and Gender as a Concept; fashion studies and other research on the transgender population and clothing typically focus on political aspects and identity. Previous research hasn't focused on the physical needs of clothing for the transgender population. The second part of the thesis assesses these needs through a survey of previous studies and policies, self-reflection, and discussions. The third part attempts to meet the clothing needs with practice-led research. It addresses these needs, develops, and evaluates a patterning system for the design principles that designers must observe when designing for transgender individuals. With the help of tacit knowledge (Vänskä, Hokka, Särmäkari, 2023, p. 46), it first develops a patterning system for size and fit-changing clothes. This system addresses the sizing and fit issues transgender people face when shopping for clothes. The technique was applied on a collection of six looks. Each look represents a gender stereotype: the wine mom, the basketball dad, the construction worker, the fisherman, the man in a suit, and the woman in a ball gown. The deliberate choice of these stereotypes is twofold: firstly, they offer universally recognized archetypes, facilitating impactful reinterpretations, and secondly, they provide a platform for challenging societal norms and fostering dialogue on identity and representation. This thesis presents practical applications not only for the clothing industry for trans people and trans individual/personal needs but the proposed patterning technique can be further applied to fitting issues related to changing bodies after weight loss and gain and during and after pregnancy. In addition, this thesis has practical implications for sustainable consumption as it addresses deadstock issues and contributes to environmentally friendly consumption on an individual level.
Vänskä, Annamari
Thesis advisor
Latimer, Ervin
inclusivity, transgender, fashion, sizing, pattern making, diversity
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