the previous owner
Research on my brother's unwillingness to buy second-hand clothing
Used design probes: 2 disposable cameras, his instagram account, phone calls
We own more and more clothes each year and our closets are a mess. Only a small percentage of those clothes is pre-owned. Growing the secondhand market can help make the fashion industry less wasteful. Shopping secondhand is unfortunately not for everyone. Even though a pre-owned garment can be as good as new, shopping secondhand can be less attractive because of several reasons. A complex reason is that people do not identify as a secondhand shopper. There can be many different motivations for this: people are not motivated for sustainability, people associate it with being poor and don’t want to seem poor, or they think it’s too hip, or they associate it with being old and dirty, and perhaps more...
It is often difficult to gain a true understanding of a stranger and his culture, behaviours and attitudes, and even more difficult to dig deeper to uncover preferences, concerns and desires. In order to generate genuinely new ideas, the designer must find inspiration from within the group. I peeked inside my brother's world through his point of view by viewing his Instagram feed - noticing the people he looks up to and inviting him to share what kind of clothes his friends are wearing. It allowed me to understand the choices he makes towards clothing and catch a sight of what he values. I discovered he does wear pre-owned clothing, only if it used to belong to a friend or a family member. The research showed it is the unknown history about second-hand clothing that repells him. It leaves a lot of room for bad imagination, clothing becomes associated with 'old and dirty'. My proposal to make this shopping experience less eerie for him are tags attached with the information he cares about the previous owners of the garments. One might even find a shirt that once belonged to Brad Pitt!