Putting Empathy Back in Design: The Purple Dress Project
The first step in the design thinking process, according to the Stanford School of Design, is “empathize.” In a document provided by Stanford d.school describing their design-thinking methods, they say “empathy is the foundation of a human-centered design process” (Bootcamp Bootleg, 2013). Fashion design television shows such as Fashion Star and Project Runway are attempting to put empathy back into the center of the design process, albeit sometimes a weak attempt. On the episode of Fashion Star that aired on March 22, 2013, designers were asked to design a look for plus-sized women (Dudynsky, 2013). This was an excellent opportunity for designers to empathize with a customer category often disregarded. If the designers did observe, engage with, or immerse themselves in the plus-sized culture, the show made no attempt to relay that information to the viewer.