Designing with Culture in Mind (Continuity and Change)

By Lena Darweesh . F..

Published by The Design Collection

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

This paper is intended to explore the ways in which prevalent socio-religious values in society influence fashion trends. The continuity and change visible in particular design styles is governed by the designers’ perceptions of the society’s values and religious beliefs. This paper will highlight the effects of socio-religious restrictions imposed on fashion design by cultural beliefs and values and demonstrate how these beliefs impact current fashion trends.
The Saudi national men’s dress, the Thoub, is an underexplored cultural artifact that has been largely influenced by prevailing socio-religious trends. A plain white garment with long sleeves, the thoub has been traditionally associated with the expression of social equality and religious connotations.
Currently, these associations are being challenged in Saudi Arabia by changing fashion trends. Modern geometrical patterns, colored weave, and English numerals have been incorporated in men’s dress, testing widespread socio-religious beliefs of what a national dress should constitute. Identification of such micro trends illuminates the need for an investigation of how socio-religious issues and cultural beliefs influence continuity and change in fashion.
Research Methodology
This research has been designed to disclose the role of socio-religious values and beliefs on national dress within the Arabian region. This research study is a pilot for a PhD dissertation on design and culture. A theoretical survey has been carried out using publications, observations, media, and field work.

Keywords: Socio-religious Values, National Dress, Socio-cultural Beliefs, Continuity and Change

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 880.914KB).

Dr. Lena Darweesh . F.

Lecturer, School of Art and Design, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicester, UK

My name is Lena Ahmed Fallata. I am a lecturer at King Faisal University (KFU), Department of Interior Design. I earned a Masters degree in Architecture from KFU in June 2003. I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Interior Architecture from KFU in 1998. Currently, I’m pursuing a PhD in Industrial Design at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. My work involves coordinating and planning the existing design curriculums of KFU, as well as teaching duties including tutorials and lectures, evaluation and assessment of design projects, and promoting the well-being of students. Publications include a paper on “Traditionalism V.S. Modernism” discussed at the “First Economic Home Symposium” in Jeddah, September 1999. I presented a paper titled “The Contemporary Architect in Saudi Environment”, at Abha Tourism Festival, Saudi Arabia (2001). I had co-authored a paper at the KFU Symposium of Architecture and Planning labeled “Revisiting traditionalism in Saudi architecture”, on May 2003. My interests evolve around identifying the significance of creating culturally appropriate consumer products using global technology. The scope of my work covers mass-produced objects such as mobile phones and fashion wear that form a basis of how design is a reflection of whom we are today.


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