Today I'm Going to be a... An exploration into the role of the design process on the development of children's identity​

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The paper is part of a larger PhD study which works to develop garments, accessories and wearer experience to nurture a positive sense of self identity and to enhance the wellbeing of wearers, age 8-10. The aim of this paper is to begin to explore the need and potential impact of working with children, aged 8-10 to develop design features; exploring common symbolism and narratives in the multisensory experiences associated with choosing and wearing Fashion items.

Fashion as a subject is about more than products; it’s about story-telling, communication and narrative. The link between Fashion and Identity has been well considered in the context of menswear and womenswear, but is woefully underexplored in the area of childrenswear. This study considers children of pre-social age (those too young to officially register for a social media profile); the selection of this age category is important for numerous reasons developmentally, and is explored fully within the paper with primary reasons summarised through it being broadly accepted in social science that age 12-13 forms the beginning of cognitive identity formation (Erikson, 1993 and Warin, 2010), but 59% of UK 10 years old have already created a public facing personal profile on social media (, 2014). Here we seek to address how a more interactive design development process can lead to more intelligent product design for this audience, potentially to help foster a sense of self before it’s cognitively formed. The paper considers theories in multisensory perception, including synaesthesia as well as looking at approaches to working creatively with child participants in other fields, which includes references to anthropomorphism and post humanism. There is also emphasis on masks in the study considering cultural and Fashion based references.

The results of this exploratory study will support practice led development of conceptual pieces and eventually commercial Fashion products for the benefit of the target age group.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019
EventFuturescan 4: Valuing Practice - University of Bolton, Bolton, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jan 201924 Jan 2019


ConferenceFuturescan 4
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • children
  • childrenswear
  • fashion
  • anthropomorphism
  • garments
  • identity


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