Gender Stereotyping ‘Textiles’ & ‘Materials’

It’s Nice That just published a pretty fascinating article on using the terms “textiles” or “materials” and the opportunities to cross genders when we’re not focused on a woman sitting “behind a sewing machine making curtains or clothing.”

“However, for most of us that work as textile designers, this isn’t the case. In fact it is a satisfying and rewarding job to do, which requires a huge amount of handiwork, maths and a hint of physics,” writes Seetal Solanki of Ma-tt-er, a research studio, platform and consultancy that explores the past, present and future potentials of materials.

Solanki writes: “The world of materials has enabled women on a much larger scale. Material designers have been, and are, increasingly being considered for roles within experiential design, tech-based design, the sciences, aerospace, automotive and pretty much anything that involves a surface or experience, especially with the emergence of Google Project Jacquard which combines circuit boards and a weave structure for a wearable piece of technology.

FastCo Design believe that ‘Specialist Material Designers’ will be a job for the future. I’d go further and posit it as a job for the immediate future too.

This new approach to materials feels like a step towards gender equality within design, with opportunities and education shedding labels and restrictions and jobs becoming more skills-focused. In an article written for the Business of Fashion about the “six fashion careers of the future”, Peter Logan (technical director of raw material development at Lululemon) explains how “materials are at the heart of our industry”, so it feels only right we embrace this open attitude, and stop asking designers whether they can make a dress or not.”

Read the full article here on It’s Nice That.