Defining a New Design Paradigm for the Product Lifecycle: Young Adult Millennial Clothing and Furniture Use

By Gus Vouchilas and Connie Ulasewicz.

Published by The International Journal of Designed Objects

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The primary products that young adult consumers spend discretionary income on, when in the process of defining their extended selves, are furniture and clothing. This study compares use, disposal, and redesign practices of these products by young adult Millennials. This age cohort is in the process of defining a new lifecycle model of product use. A convenience sample of 238 university students in San Francisco, California responded to Likert scale and ranking statements regarding perceptions and practices with clothing and furniture consumption, use, reuse and redesign. Perceptions regarding use and waste were similar for clothing and furniture products, highlighting the cross-disciplinary view of these categories. Preferences for purchase of both clothing and furniture were based on the ability of product reuse or redesign. Dominant preferences for product disposal were to donate and give away. In lieu of disposal, subjects practiced updating and redesigning clothing and furniture, extending the product lifecycle. The extension of product life through redesign and reuse of disposed items contributes to the category of post-use, thereby further defining the Millenial view. Anticipated to be the largest age cohort and market segment in history, understanding Millennials’ preferences for purchase of reusable and redesignable products is essential, as they are anticipated to have a continued impact on economic and societal trends. Their ability to reuse or redesign clothing and furniture has significant ramifications for the design industries. Their sensitivity to the extended life of products is critical to marketing for the future. A new model of extended product life, critical for product design, marketing and retailing, was developed based on the research findings. The model illustrates an understanding and awareness of actions that lead to new product lifecycles.

Keywords: Product Lifecycle, Reuse, Redesign, Cross-disciplinary Design, Millennial

The International Journal of Designed Objects, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.91-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 556.146KB).

Dr. Gus Vouchilas

Assistant Professor, Interior Design, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA

As an Assistant Professor of Interior Design in the Department of Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics within the College of Health and Social Sciences, I engage with my students in areas of design to include sustainable practices and creative thought processes and development which spring forth new concepts and solutions. My research interests are on perceptions and practices of sustainability and sustainable design methods, perceptions of leadership as they relate to imagery in office design, Millennial consumer practices and product use, as well as international approaches to design development and universal design. As a longtime member in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), I connect my students with industry knowledge toward solving real time issues and problems with our basic human needs as they relate to the built and natural environments.

Dr. Connie Ulasewicz

Associate Professor, Apparel Design and Merchandising, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA

As an Associate Professor of Apparel Design & Merchandising in the Department of Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics within the College of Health and Social Sciences, I engage with students on ideas and topics integrating responsible fashion practices within, visual merchandising & promotion, social entrepreneurship, product development and the social psychology of clothing. My research interests include extending the life cycle of sewn products and I am the coauthor of the recently published book Sustainable Fashion Why Now: A Conversation about Issues, Practices and Possibilities. With over 25 years of garment industry experience managing production, merchandising, and sales, my industry connections are a great source for community engaged scholarship for our students. I am a founding member of ESRAB, Educators for Social Responsibility in Apparel Businesses, and PeoplewearSF a bay area, non-profit sewn product industry association and I am on the board of Global Action Through Fashion.