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An investigation of the mass-market fashion design process

Prabod Dharshana Munasinghe (Department of Textile and Clothing Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, Sri Lanka)
D.G.K. Dissanayake (Department of Textile and Apparel Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)
Angela Druckman (Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK and Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

ISSN: 1560-6074

Article publication date: 16 August 2021

Issue publication date: 28 November 2022




The process of fashion design varies between market segments, yet these variations have not yet been properly explored. This study aims to examine the fashion design process as practised at the mass-market level, as this is the most vibrant and the largest market segment in terms of production volumes and sales.


It is observed that 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted with mass-market fashion designers. Key activities of the mass-market design process were identified and a comparative analysis was conducted with the general design process.


The mass-market design process is found to prioritise profits rather than aesthetic aspects, with the buyer exercising more power than the designer. This hinders creativity, which, in turn, may impede a move towards more environmentally benign designs.


The clothing industry is responsible for high environmental impacts and many of these impacts arise through decisions made in the design stage. In particular, the mass-market for clothing because of its high volume of sales and fast throughput, accounts for a great deal of the impact. However, little is understood about the design process that is practised in the mass-fashion market. This paper fills the gap by developing a framework that describes the mass-market design process. Understanding the design process will enable progress to be made towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.



This work was supported by the University Grant Commission, Sri Lanka under Grant DRIC/PG2017(II)/MRT/01 and UK ESRC funded Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, grant number ES/M010163/1.


Munasinghe, P.D., Dissanayake, D.G.K. and Druckman, A. (2022), "An investigation of the mass-market fashion design process", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 323-342.



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