Sevgi Gaye Ayanoglu

Fashionable Technology for Sustainable Behaviour: Incorporation of Fashion and Cities in The Internet of Things Vision


Emília Duarte, UNIDCOM/IADE, IADE - Universidade Europeia,
Madalena Pereira, UNIDCOM/IADE , UBI – Universidade da Beira Interior


Regarding the future tendencies of society such as digital technologies and “smart” solutions, as well as the quality of life and sustainable concerns embody in societal challenges, mission-based approaches and more effective, interdisciplinary contributions are required. Besides, technology-based solutions are already found in several areas including promotion of safety, well-being, military and entertainment, however, there is an unexplored context of use in terms of sustainability. Since most of the total environmental impacts are often determined by user behaviour; focusing on human behaviour, changing daily life routines, influencing the motivation are vital to achieve sustainability. In this sense, city life is important for changing daily habits and unsustainable actions, and fashion products could be a considerable tool towards a motivation for behavioural change considering sustainability since fashion products are met with the desire, identity and emotional needs of users. Consequently, fashionable technology is seen as a potential way to motivate users both triggering emotional desires and offering technological solutions. The main objective of this research is to contribute sustainability through behavioural change in cities, by means of fashionable technology. To achieve the proposed objective, a mixed methodology will be used, and user-centred design approach will be followed.

Keywords: Fashionable Technology, Sustainable Behaviour, Internet of Things, User-Centred Design


There is an urgent need for global action and mission settlement that shape the future towards a strong contribution to sustainability, which is one of the greatest challenges that our society faces (Mazzucato, 2018; ALLEA, HERA, ELI, ESA, EuroScience, GYA, Net4Society, 2017). The understanding what underlines the adoption of sustainable behaviours shall be an important contribution since can provide designers and developers the opportunity to design more effective solutions. Furthermore, the current trends show an increasing dependence of our societies on digital technologies (e.g., wearables, smart and ubiquitous computing and worldwide network connectivity, the so-called Internet of Things), in many of basic activities (e.g., communication, socialization, learning, consumption) (The Innovation Group, 2018). Besides that, new technology-based possibilities are being suggested to solve many societal problems such as energy and waste reduction, water treatment, protection of natural systems (Mulder, Ferrer, & Van Lente, 2011). Some examples of these technology-based solutions can already be found successful in the promotion of safety, health and wellbeing, military, and entertainment (Hanuska, et al., 2016) but remain relatively unexplored in what regards sustainability.

Also, very well established is the power of pleasurable and attractive objects on the users, satisfying their need for identity (one of the fundamental non-material human needs) with fashion (Fletcher, 2008, p. 121; Max-Neef, 1992). These pleasurable, fashionable objects are able to seduce the users towards a behavioural change since they cause enjoyment and satisfaction, which influences intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). In this sense, Fashionable Technology, which refers to a topic that is “an intersection of design, fashion, science, and technology” (Seymour, 2009), can be seen as a potential way to motivate urban users to adopt sustainable behaviours. In this context, this doctoral research aims to explore the extent that Fashionable Technology (smart fashion product) can promote sustainable behaviours in urban contexts.

To achieve the proposed objective, a mixed methodology will be used, which is one form of triangulation that allows researchers to obtain data from range of sources (Crouch & Pearce, 2012). User-Centred Design (UCD) approach will be used to gain information about user’s perceptions, to test motivation and ability (simplicity) regarding the behavioural change model (Fogg, 2009). The UCD means taking the user into account in every step while developing the product, that eventually creates efficient user experience (Garrett, 2011), and will provide the opportunity to optimize the interaction between the user and the smart fashion product.

To conduct this study, the methodology will be divided into five phases: 1. Knowledge expansion and analysis of reference situations; 2. Field/survey research; 3. Ideation and development of conceptual design; 4. Design production and prototyping; 5. Evaluation and conclusion. The first two phases will provide an examination of key areas and overlaps, users’ behaviours towards sustainability and the reasons underlying it. Data will be collected by literature review, questionnaires and interviews. Starting from the third phase, several techniques such as usability testing, prototyping, and surveys will be used. Since the smart fashion product has an embedded technology that generate data with network connectivity, an interface and software design are also considered. Ultimately, the rest of the phases will provide new design solutions and verification of hypothesis.

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