Laverty / Sensory Nourishment

Sensory Nourishment Consciously crafting sensations within fashion practices to support diverse sensory needs

Author: Maureen Selina Laverty, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Supervisor: Trond Are Øritsland, Associate Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Pauline van Dongen, Eindhoven University of Technology

Research stage: PhD, Intermediate

Category: Extended abstract


The sensations in our environments can be experienced at unbearable levels by many neurodivergent individuals. Clothes are our most immediate environment, yet fashion design practices rarely consider the impact of the sensations they craft. This ongoing design-driven doctoral research actively includes participants with heightened sensory responses. In the first phase, it employed 12 wardrobe interviews to collaboratively explore the relationship between the wearer, their aesthetic values and sensory perception. The insights gathered placed the moving body at the forefront of the design practice; shifting focus from material properties to the sensations crafted through the practice of wearing. It concluded that participants have a deep desire to access universal emotional experiences such as comfort, freedom, protection. These emotional experiences have physical manifestations that may differ from person to person, environment to environment. These are now being explored with four participants, in the second phase of the research, through my design practice.

Keywords: Autism spectrum, ADHD, neurodivergent, sensory experiences, fashion design, inclusive design