17 July 2008

The slow suit experience

Be the first to share

byBiella
A few days ago I was part of a panel at the Biella Chamber of Commerce.

Biella is a small city in the North of Italy, that became wealthy because of its textile industry, and is now coming to terms with a new global landscape that is not so favourable any more. Some companies have managed to do rather well – Ermenegildo Zegna is an example – while many others are struggling.

The town is now trying to put itself on the map – globally – as a place of exquisite textiles. Their marketing campaign is all about the “art of excellence“.

So in our panel discussion I quizzed the audience on what the concept of “slow” might mean for textiles. What could slow fashion be? How could the concept of slow thinking be applied to the textile industry, a very crucial branch of Italy’s design industry? And how can we make it into a lever for sustainability (with fashion often being exactly the opposite)?

One of the audience members, Paola Fini, wrote me about a new company she started – partly inspired by the internationally known Biella-based artist Michelangelo Pistoletto and his Cittadellarte – trying to address these questions.

byBiella is all about traditional suit making, with a special slow experience. The entire process of selecting the fabric, choosing the style and taking the measurements is done at the client’s home. The bespoke suit – Made in Italy of course with great attention to fabric quality and detailing – is then produced in four weeks.

Moreover, much like Slow Food, byBiella emphasises the culture of dressing and elegance, as a balance between the inside and the outside, with the individual at the heart of the company’s activities.

A great initiative it seems, that I can only applaud, although I would like to hear more about sustainability and see a stronger storytelling component (especially on the website which didn’t make me feel part of a vision that I would want to share, endorse and promote to others).

Now what does “slow” imply for the not so high end in the clothing industry? byBiella is an entirely valid concept, yet also a company that offers “slow” products that are probably out of reach for most people. What might slow fashion mean for more modest budgets? How to bring the excellence, the sense of quality, and the natural purity so pervasive in Biella, into textile products that are also within reach of a wider population, let’s say for children, teenagers or young adults – much like Slow Food has done with excellent quality local food products?

I don’t have the answer, but the question needs to be addressed urgently. We need many more Paola Fini’s in Biella.

Be the first to share
30 September 2016
The Adaptive Reuse Toolkit
The Adaptive Reuse Toolkit - How Cities Can Turn their Industrial Legacy 
into Infrastructure for Innovation and Growth by Matteo Robiglio Policy Paper, September 2016 The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) All over in the world, …
25 September 2016
Three new reports on behavioural science applied to policy making
European Commission There is growing recognition that behavioural insights (BIs) – by shedding light on how people actually make choices – help deliver more effective policies and complement traditional forms of intervention. The Behavioural Insights Applied …
18 September 2016
Better decisions by design: applied behavioral science
Can we design a decision aid that gives us health information we need and counters our biases so that we end up more knowledgeable and confident in our preference? This is the challenge that …
18 September 2016
Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic on the home of the future
Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD (San Diego, USA), working with the students on design fiction and futurism. The residency …
5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing
The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to "transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and …
4 September 2016
Cognitive bias cheat sheet
Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment. Buster Benson has tried to arrange the rather exhaustive lists of cognitive …
3 September 2016
[Paper] Design for behaviour change as a driver for sustainable innovation
Design for Behaviour Change as a Driver for Sustainable Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation in the Private and Public Sectors Niedderer, K., Ludden, G., Clune, S. J., Lockton, D., Mackrill, J., Morris, A., Cain, R., …
30 August 2016
Intel’s Todd Harple proposes new toolkit for fashion designers
Fashion designers must integrate software, sensors, processors and new synthetic and biological materials into their toolkit, argues Intel anthropologist Todd Harple. "A fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

See all articles