What are the likely strengths and weaknesses of using heuristics as a fashion designer?  

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Heuristics are the methods and processes that we select to solve problems. They often are a result of our previous experience and of situations stored in our long term memory. Most of the time we tend to solve a problem or make a choice based on what we know, and what we have experienced. Although at times we do not analyze the extent to which we really know things, it is a fact that we often make choices based on the most salient visual and emotional aspects of our schema.

In the growing world of fashion design there are more than one variables to assure success. One thing that Vera Wang maintains, though, is that creativity must always be based on the ability of thinking outside of the comfort zone and on the willingness to create new and innovative things.

This being said, any creative professional should combine, both what they know and what they see others doing (trends, patterns, color combinations, decorative techniques, etc) to create new things. If the designer is too "stuck in his/her ways", chances are that the designs and fashions coming out of their studio will be repetitive and, what is worse, predictable. Although predictability is a sign of mastery in an artist's work, the same concept does not transfer to fashion because, unlike classical art, fashion changes with the rhythms of society and the psyche of the people.

Since a fashion designer has to follow trends, and look at the world around, rather than just making decisions based on what they know alone, a proposal was created to try to build an online fashion designer community from all over the world. This "virtual fashion studio" would provide up and coming designers with resources from designers from other continents as to how fashion is developing in different cities. This would help designers because the more they know, they more information they will have to make choices out of.

The proposal is titled Hyperrealistic Simulations as a Heuristic Tool for Fashion Designers: Exploring the Possibilities of Establishing Virtual Fashion Studio for Fashion Professionals, and was written by Dr. Kung Wong Lau, an assistant professor at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Wong Lau argues that fashion designers in the 21st century do not possess a formal, integrated online community where they can share, compare, and contrast fashion trends. As a result, Wong proposes the establishment of the virtual fashion studio where designers from all over the world can share what they see and feel changing as far as fashion trends around the world. This way, they will be able to produce more pieces at a minimum amount of time.

Therefore, since heuristics are all about schema, special consideration must be given to flexibility and the willingness to make many observations and accept new and different things. If a designer decides to categorize what is beautiful and fashionable only following his or her own constructs, there will never be a full connection with a broad audience of potential customers. The virtual fashion studio would be a great solution to expand the horizons of futures designer and to put them more in touch with a changing world.


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