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Design & Technology

Consumers, maintenance and safety

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Textile designers need to consider a number of factors that can influence their target market. Designers need to be aware of laws and safety standards to make sure their products are safe to produce and use.

Consumer choice and consumer rights

Designers have to think carefully about the needs and wants of their target market: investigating what consumers value and desire in a product is called market research. Consumer values and choices are influenced by societal, cultural, moral and environmental issues.

Societal, cultural, and moral factors that impact on textile design

Societal / cultural / moral factorImpact
Lifestyle and fashion

Gender images and peer group pressure. Clothing, accessories and styling of fashionable celebrities. Brand loyalty.

Development of new street fashions, style and colour trends. Development of new marketing strategies.
Trend forecasts

Available as a commercial service aimed at fashion industry professionals worldwide. Retail organisations, manufacturers, designers and consultants frequently subscribe to keep up to date.

Various professional trend forecast services judge and identify emerging trends and predict future trends. Fashion industries can find guidance as to the lengths, shapes, colours and styles of garments and accessories to be designed and made.
Globalisation

Availability of cheap labour in the developing world. New global market for textile fashions. Increasing awareness of textiles from other cultures. Consumer reaction against corporate trends.

Textiles costs are driven down in a global marketplace for textiles. Growing demand for traditional and ethnic textiles as well as modern ones.
Environmental concern

Worries about pollution of rivers and beaches from textile processes. Growing support for recycling.

Development of new recycled fabrics (eg Polartec, Tencel). Preference for higher-cost traditional fabrics (eg wool) over synthetic ones. Enforcement of laws to protect the environment.

Consumer rights

Consumers of textile products, like all consumers, have rights protected by law.

Three key pieces of consumer rights legislation

 How it protects youExample
Trade Descriptions ActStatements about the product must be trueA 'waterproof' product must not let in the rain
Sale of Goods ActThe product must be of satisfactory qualityThe product must perform as expected, eg it should not fall apart after being worn only once
Consumer Safety ActNightwear Safety Regulations protect children aged between three months and 13 years from fire hazardsChildren's nightwear, including threads and decoration, must carry a permanent label to show that they meet the flammability [flammability: How easily something will burn or ignite. ] standard

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