The term design has broaden its meaning during the last years. Design can be used to describe a holistic and multi-disciplinary problem-solving approach that takes user needs, desires, and capabilities as its starting point and focus. This multi-disciplinary approach become fundamental in a sector as that of technical textiles, where the functional aspects are preeminent compared to the aesthetic ones.
Textile design is becoming ‘smart’ with a surge in innovative collaborations. It leans towards an inherently interdisciplinary methodology, involving two or more fields of study. Collaboration enables development of meaningful relationships, an understanding of each other’s language. Production of technical textiles is a rapidly developing trade in the textile industry, due to availability of the new materials and technologies, for example, high modulus and high tenacity fibres (HMHT), heat-storage and thermo-regulated materials, Phase Change Materials (PCM), Shape Memory Materials (SMM), conductive polymers, micro-capsules and nano-materials.
Changes being brought to the textile design profession by new smart materials requires that designers think in new ways, embracing these exciting dynamic capabilities, building on the value of collaboration to develop innovative design.
Keywords: Design led innovation; Design thinking; Innovation; Critical thinking; Creative thinking; Art thinking; Strategy; Vision; Prototype