University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
School of Architecture College of Design

Emotional Connections

Clothing can reflect emotional ties between an individual and a garment, between individuals, or
groups of individuals. For example, think of school-related apparel, sports gear, or ethnic dress – an
Indian sari or a Somali woman’s dress. Clothing can also be a tangible reminder of loved ones or of
personal experiences. Hazel Clark, Research Chair of Fashion at Parsons in New York City, says, “The
emotional attachment between human beings and clothes offers potential for designers wanting to
explore fashion as a sustainable practice.”

Emotional connections and sentimental attachment to garments, accessories or jewelry create meaning
for the individual and therefore extend clothing’s lifespan. These connections can be created as

❚ Heirlooms – Bequeathing treasured items from one generation to the next often
occurs between family members. Popular heirlooms are wedding and christening
❚ Hand-me-downs – Passing outgrown but still usable children’s clothing to younger
children is a common practice.
❚ Do-it-yourself – Creating a garment or personalizing an existing item by using
techniques such as screen printing or embroidery encourages pride in the design and
the wearer’s role in its development.
❚ Cultural Inspiration – Ethnicity is often a source of inspiration in the realm of
fashion. The inspiration can come from the designer’s own culture, a garment from
another culture, or an appreciation of a fabric design from another country, for

Contact Information

Goldstein Museum of Design

364 McNeal Hall,

1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-624-7434 |

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