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Research Methods in Fashion

Final Research Project Project Capstone: Re.Stance Bianca Desjardins Gittens Toronto Metropolitan University FSN707 Research Methods in Fashion Prof. Ashley Lewis April 15th, 2024 Gittens 2

Thesis Statement

This project is an extension to a startup I have been developing in the past year. Designers have the opportunity to shape technology to reform existing systems approaches, adopting circular practices in the fashion industry’s infrastructure. Fashion starts with raw materials and labour, therefore, it is inherently exploitative. The current supply chain practices are tied to oppressive systems designed through capitalist, colonial and industrial intentions. The underlining proposition for this project comes from the following inquiry: How can we develop solutions that challenge the current design processes to adopt more circular practices? The answer lies in the intersection of technological innovation and returning towards indigenous ways of making in balance with nature. It is critical to leverage this to problem-solve for sustainable development. The aim is to provide a platform where brands, charitable organizations and consumers can collaborate and connect to reach global sustainability goals. My startup, Re.stance, is an online advertising platform, that facilitates donations by connecting consumers to charitable initiatives in exchange for promo codes from sustainable fashion/beauty brands. Through this platform, my goal is to make social advocacy more accessible by leveraging sustainable consumption. “Design is so often a “supplier for industrial production,” a pandoras box that can’t control itself within capitalist systems (i.e. mass media, advertising, consumption)” (Mareis et al., 2022). In subsequent, as a BIPOC student, it is my responsibility to design spaces that empower individuals impacted by the oppression of our current systems. I Gittens 3 see this as a manifestation of Afro-futurism, a way to visualize systems that seek to uplift us out of systems that disregard the people and the planet for profit. Methodology Statement Why this project? Why now? Why does it matter? My goal in this startup is to unearth ways to leverage the synergy between technology and sustainable development. The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Mensah, 2019). Overconsumption is a critical issue in reaching sustainable goals in the fashion industry. Finding a way to leverage consumption by forcing consumers to critically analyze their impact may alleviate this issue. “Mindless consumption is a crucial issue to environmental, social, and individual well-being” (Bahl et al., 2016). Drawing upon the Four Principles of Human-Centered Design, Re.Stance is an approach that leverages the collective action to contextualize the problems in implementing circular design (Norman, 2019). In order to reform this industry, collaboration is necessary, and creating a platform that allows consumers to connect to likeminded people, brands and NGO’s by offering educational content could be a pathway for community advocacy. This project is founded in critical approaches that align with my mission as a designer and my goals to reform practices within the supply chain. I have also integrated Biomimicry within my creative venture as an important step in my design process, factoring in Gittens 4 the importance of designing within circular practices. I think this startup is where I can amplify my purpose, and inspire others to rethink their relationship to our supply chain. As part of the Social Venture Zone Member at TMU incubation cohort, this capstone assignment will provide valuable insight of how this SE can successfully navigate in the Nonprofit sector. Quantitive Research x Community Participatory Research The use of quantitive research is the most effective method to contextualize what is needed to create this service offering, ensuring that the platform benefits all stakeholders. Therefore, creating my questionnaire, allows me to collect quantitive data about potential users and include collaboration into the design process. After introducing the pitch with the current demo, the survey will be handed to the class, provided through a google link form listed in Figure 5 in order to conduct market validation. The goal of the questionnaire is to address market validation of the service and also explore user feedback on the business model. Ultimately, this platform is created with the intention to bridge the gap between consumers, brands and initiatives from the Non Profit sector, inciting collective advocacy for social and environmental causes. When I pitch my startup, quantitive research reinforces my mission statement as this is the glue validating the why. While secondary sources are valuable to contextualizing how this business model meets an unmet market need, especially regarding the benefits provided for Non Profits and Brands, the surveys provide primary sources of data which are valuable for further understanding potential users, the design process and iteration pathway, a crucial element to circular and sustainable design. When developing a tech platform, metrics are core to communicating value to stakeholders. With the data received from the questionnaire I can Gittens 5 conduct a comparative analysis, taking elements which are received as successful. This will help communicate to future developers and UX/UI designers on the functions which should be implemented based on user feedback. With this, it will be easier to contextualize the integration stack for Re.stance. This method is important as a community-based research methods, as this platform is designed for the people, and understanding how to design mindfully should always involve the public to effectively address DEI issues. It is also a way to validate an idea and see how creative endeavors interact with the real environment. This method is crucial to all my design processes as disregard to these issues is a detriment to the triple bottom line. Considering these variances optimizes the success of this design. It encourages critical thinking in consumers, hopefully encouraging mindful sustainable consumption. REB Considerations Since my research involves human participants, it may be necessary to include an application to the Research and Ethics Board to ensure compliance regarding consent, confidentiality and respectful engagement. The google forms document includes consent and information about how the participants data will be utilized, factoring multiple intersections of gender identities in the survey. Gittens 6 Project Steps My proposed creative approach for this project is stated in the following points also categorized in the project timeline seen in Figure 4. 1. My final research project is a revised a business Pitch, including a pitch deck for Re.Stance and a demo. This pitch includes secondary quantitive research, contextualizing the benefits of this business model through a swot analysis for brands and Non Profits (See Pitch). 2. After introducing the pitch with the current demo, I have designed a survey which will be handed to the entire class to conduct market validation. I have designed the questionnaire on a platform where students can fill it out in their own time. The goal of the questionnaire is to address market validation of the service and also explore user feedback on the business model. 3. To better reflect the new business model, this is the stage in my design process where I go back to the drawing board returning to the iteration phase, and explain “feedback and feedforward loops” (Norman, 2019) . The pitch includes an older demo for the purpose of the survey to understand customer demographics and preferences. The survey will also include a segment which addresses the changes I wish to implement into the visual components. Once I receive the feedback from this survey. I will continue iteration of the prototype to refine and improve the current development of wireframes which will be transformed into Figma designs for the platforms functionality. Gittens 7 Reference List with A Contextual Review 1. The below resources provides an in depth analysis of current market trends and forecasts within the fashion industry . Perhaps the most comprehensive collection of global impact is found in The Business of Fashion annual reports. It enables business owners such as myself to contextualize the market that I wish to enter into. For instance, the current geopolitical climate points towards global instability, affecting younger generations in particular . According to McKinsey & Company “76 percent of Gen-Z and 79 percent of Millennials reported that they are dipping into their savings, taking on more credit or taking on additional jobs to manage their finances” ( McKinsey & Company. 2023). This points towards the following statistic illustrated in Figure 5 stating that “89 percent of Millennial shoppers in the United States would try a new brand if they were offered a coupon or discount. This makes Millennials the most likely to do so, ahead of Generation X respondents with 86 percent” (Statista 2020). The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company. (2023). The State of Fashion 2023. Retrieved rom The_State_of_Fashion_2023.pdf Gittens 8 Statista. (2020). U.S. adults who try a new brand because of discounts and coupons during coronavirus in the United States in 2020, by age group. Retrieved from https:// 2. Analyzing natural systems' inherent capacity for circularity provides an insightful blueprint for developing regenerative frameworks with technology. This is seen in a process in Biomimicry called Biomimetics. It's defined as the “interdisciplinary cooperation of biology and technology or other fields of innovation to solve practical problems through the function analysis of biological systems, their abstraction into models, and the transfer into and application of these models to the solution” (Hayes, 2020). Biomimetics can also be applied to dynamic solutions for reforming governance practices within our social, political, and economic systems. “Increasing mainstreaming of infrastructure sustainability frameworks has several implications for the potential breakthrough of biomimetic innovations. Such frameworks create a positive foundation for ongoing innovation towards sustainability and create a landscape of continued improvement” (Hayes 2020). By integrating sustainable AI solutions to Re.Stances infrastructure, may provide the necessary avenues to reform issues within the supply chain. Hayes, S., Desha, C., & Baumeister, D. (2020). Learning from nature – Biomimicry innovation to support infrastructure sustainability and resilience. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 161, 120287. Gittens 9 3. This section is compiled of secondary data collection references for quantitive research which helps define and contextualize the problem statement my Startup Re.Stance attempts to address. It provides the necessary background information on how the Fashion in industry’s consumption habits are interlinked with an unmet market need. For instance “BBB’s believes greater trust in charities translates to higher public engagement and confidence in giving.” Additionally “Younger generations are more likely to say they will not donate if they are not sure what the charity will do with the money (37.8% of Gen Zers, as compared to 15.2% of Matures); or when a charity does not share clear recent accomplishments (23.2% of Gen Zers as compared to 9.3% of Mature”( Better Business Bureau 2022). Overall, in order to design with intention, understanding historical impacts of fashion and Non Profits is necessary for sustainable development. Better Business Bureau. (2022). Donor trust report 2022: Five-year review. default-source/donor-trust-library/donor_trust_report_2022_five_year_review.pdf 4. This source delves into a critical analysis of design practices and genealogies that could be implemented as part of a sustainable framework. It will be used to develop a comprehensive approach to solve roadblocks in functional design of Re.Stance. A crucial aspect of design is the continuous critical analysis of the positive and negative impacts of design brought into the world. Gittens 10 Understanding how design interacts with the lives of individuals requires an iterative process which critically observes the process through the lens of intersectionality, understanding that there may be gaps in this analysis. Mareis elaborates “In the humanities, the question of critique is profoundly linked to epistemological, ethical, and political considerations on the limits of knowledge/ truth as well as to the relation between self-determination and governance” (Mareis 2022). Mareis, C., Greiner-Petter, M., & Renner, M. (2022). Critical by design?: Genealogies, practices, positions. Transcript. Gittens 11 Figure 1 Link to Survey and Link to Pitch for Research Methods Project W1jxp3mzASMzbdGk8 Note. and DAFhtU9Snkk/lmTNCIUo8ORCokDd8Hkr5A/edit? utm_content=DAFhtU9Snkk&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=s harebutton A 100 Word Description of the Prototype (survey) and How You Made It Drawing upon the theories of Biomimicry, integrating technology to natural processing systems, I have developed this survey with the help of Chat GPT. In a past project I actually created my own depository for Re.stance on this AI software, drawing upon data which focuses on sustainable frameworks as a foundation for all infrastructures within the company. This is no exception. I prompted the Re.stance configured GPT to formulate a survey that focuses on ethics Gittens 12 and compliance for generating questions which will enable me to iterate the next steps of my project effectively and provide the most valuable quantitate data. I realize that chat GPT is controversial in academic fields, however, it is a crucial tool of my company which makes building new frameworks more accessible, drawing upon the democratization of fashion, making it more accessible and inclusive in the process. Therefore, I believe we should embrace this technology, tying into my methodology of biomimicry. Gittens 13 Figure 2 Canva Pitch Deck and Audio Presentation Note: see link to drive fAhVuPI8o5gb2v8oowiaSwR20Kf/view?usp=drivesdk. And DAFhae6tMnQ/VSfzVzWjMsXlNZDR8nl80Q/edit? utm_content=DAFhae6tMnQ&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=s harebutton and pitch with audio Gittens 14 Figure 3 Link to Prototype 5 Images of the Prototype Note. See link to canva to view demo on slide 31. The Protoype was made using Figma, as demonstrated in the Demo Video. The following visual improvements are needed; defining the functionality and layout of the advertising content feed and Impact tracking page. I will compare the platforms visual functionality and replicate elements for the Final demo which will be submitted to Y combinator. 0RhNFjRgS_xEatBohqZZKA/edit? utm_content=DAF5gEfuKgI&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=s harebutton Gittens 15 Figure 4 Timeline of Project Capstone Note. This is throughout the course of two semesters Gittens 16 Figure 5 Share of shoppers in the United States who would try a new brand if offered a discount or coupon as of May 2020, by age group Note. Chevalier, S. (2021, July 7). U.S. shoppers try new brand if given discount by age 2020. Statista. Gittens 17 References Bahl, S., Milne, G., Ross, S., Mick, D., Grier, S., Chugani, S., Chan, S., Gould, S., Cho, Y.-N., Dorsey, J., Schindler, R., Murdock, M., & Boesen Mariani, S. (2016, July 21). Mindfulness: Its transformative potential for consumer, societal, and environmental wellbeing. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 35. Bugg-Levine, A., Kogut, B., & Kulatilaka, N. (2012). A new approach to funding social enterprises. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from Chhabra, E. (2015). Social enterprise vs. non-profits: Is there really a difference? Forbes. Retrieved from Carter, T. S., & Man, T. L. M. (2009). Business activities and social enterprise: Towards a new paradigm. Retrieved from Dart, R. (2004). The legitimacy of social enterprise. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 14(4), 411-424. Gittens 18 Dion, M. (2014). The economic and non-economic dimensions of social enterprises’ moral discourse: an issue of axiological and philosophical coherence. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 10, 385–408. s11365-012-0238-z Emmett, B. (2016). Charities, sustainable funding and smart growth. Imagine Canada. Retrieved from imaginecanada_charities_sustainability_smart_growth_2016_10_18.pdf Gannitsos, I. (n.d.). Enterprising non-profits program: a report on non-profits and their social enterprises, 2000-2002. Enterprising Non-Profits Program. Gao, H., Barbier, G., & Goolsby, R. (2011). Harnessing the crowdsourcing power of social media for disaster relief. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 26 Hayes, S., Desha, C., & Baumeister, D. (2020). Learning from nature – Biomimicry innovation to support infrastructure sustainability and resilience. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 161, 120287. Mensah, J. "Sustainable development: meaning, history, principles, pillars, and implications for human action: literature review." Cogent. Soc. Sci., vol. 5, no. 1, 2019, Gittens 19 Mareis, C., Greiner-Petter, M., & Renner, M. (2022). Critical by design?: Genealogies, practices, positions. Transcript. Norman, D. (2019, July 23). The Four Fundamental Principles of Human-Centered Design and Application. Retrieved from Patreon. (n.d.). About Patreon. Retrieved from ResearchAndMarkets. (2020). NGOs and charitable organizations - Global market trajectory & analytics. Retrieved from Statista. (2023). Apparel market worldwide - statistics & facts. Retrieved from https:// Statista. (2022). Digital population worldwide as of January 2022. Retrieved from https:// Statista. (2022). Crowdfunding market size worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved from Gittens 20 Sobczak-Rosochacka, K. (2023, February 16). An e-commerce web app with sophisticated filters. Retrieved from Smith, C. (2023, March 9). 15 interesting Indiegogo facts and statistics. DMR. Retrieved from Smith, C. (2023, January 8). 10 interesting GoFundMe statistics. DMR. Retrieved from https:// The Business Research Company. (2022). NGOs and charitable organizations global market report 2022: COVID-19 impact and recovery to 2030. Retrieved from https:// The Guardian. (2019, May 7). Fewer Britons donate to charities after scandals erode trust. Retrieved from The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company. (2023). The state of fashion 2023. Retrieved from The_State_of_Fashion_2023.pdf Gittens 21 Woods, J. (2018). Generation Z will outnumber millennials this year. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from Zippia. (2020). Get the job you really want. Retrieved from

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