top of page
Touching Materials

1-3 hours
1-2 days

Individual / Group / Artefact- / material-driven

Collect / Conceptualise


In fashion, the garments’ visual appearance often gets the main attention even though many other aspects define how a user values the garment. Consequently, to support a more comprehensive understanding of product parameters, it is necessary to activate the senses and explore how these can be used to understand and create meanings, associations and emotions to the garment.

Even though all senses are relevant, this activity will look specifically into how tactility and the perception of touch and feel can be used to evaluate, and select materials for garment design.

How to create garments based on sensorial experiences?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social



Ask students to research ways to perform haptic experiments with materials. Share and discuss these in class. Ask students to collect or bring materials for a joint material repository.


Ask the group to identify and agree on four aspects they would like to investigate with their haptic sense. The following will be repeated for all students in the group:

  • From the material repository, each student chooses ten materials.

  • The student gets blindfolded and his/her materials are randomly arranged on a table. The student is then asked to order the materials based in the aspect using his/her haptic sense.

  • This should be repeated for all four aspects

  • During the sessions, the students should be encouraged to share insight

  • Photo document the material charts

When all students have been through the sessions, ask students to compare material charts and discuss denominators in the material samples.

  • How can aspects be linked to materials’ physical appearance when considering e.g. fibre, construction, surface, weight, elasticity, flexibility.

Suggested Readings

Hasling, K.M. & Bang, A.L. 2015. “How associative material characteristics create textile reflection in design education”. Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice 3, nr. 1–2, pp. 27–46.

Yanaş, E.A. 2019. “Learning tactility from Bauhaus: Educational pedagogy of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy”. In Proceedings of ASDR2019: International Association of Societiesof Design Research Conference 2019: Design Revolutions. Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Bang, A. L., 2013. “The repertory grid as a tool for dialog about emotional value of textiles”. Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice 1(1), pp. 9–25.

bottom of page