The wardrobe as a system: Exploring clothing consumption through design fiction

Irene Maldini*, Pieter J. Stappers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study offers a new perspective on clothing consumption by uncovering the systemic nature of the wardrobe. The research builds on systems theory and aims at drawing a map of the wardrobe as a system with particular structure and behaviour. By co-designing fictional 'smart wardrobe' services with experts and discussing these services with wardrobe users, we identify characteristics of wardrobe structure and behaviour that give input for a preliminary wardrobe map. Lastly, the wardrobe map provides a basis for discussing sustainable design approaches aimed at reducing clothing demand, in the context of growing clothing production volume and its associated environmental impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-25
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Design Research
Issue number1
Early online date11 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Clothing consumption
  • Design fiction
  • Research through design
  • Sustainable design
  • Systems theory


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