Pedagogical Considerations for Teaching Modern Performance Glove Design

Sokolowski, Susan
Corr, Gary
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When we teach students how to be apparel designers, we address the user’s needs (performance and aesthetic), body shape and size, ideation, materials selection, pattern development, construction and evaluation to create new products. However, when teaching modern performance glove design, the pedagogical process is undefined. The human hand is a complex interface to create new products for. Literature in the space includes: historical documentation of gloves and glove making, hand anthropometry, methods of evaluating the hand and glove functionality to determine product design opportunities, but the process of linking knowledge together to teach students glove design from start-to-finish, with current tools and technologies is lacking (Redwood, 2016; Tomshinsky, 2011; Greiner, 1991; Hsiao et. al., 2015; Dianat et. al., 2014; Torrens et. al., 2012).

Corriveau (2014), also writes how there is an opportunity to improve the design process for glove designers, through new practices in anthropometric data collection, and developing better tools for designers to create from. He discusses how gloves are often not worn because users refuse to wear uncomfortable or cumbersome products. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) also supports this notion, where 1 million workers in the United States were reported to be treated with acute hand injuries. Seventy-percent of those injured, choose not to wear gloves and the remaining 30% of acquired injuries were from wearing damaged or improper gloves for the job. Performance glove designers have a great responsibility, where they must carefully consider finger flexibility, dexterity, size variations, thermoregulation, support, impact protection and seam placement to enable users to perform tasks accurately and safely. What if similar efforts used to teach apparel design could be utilized to teach modern performance glove design? Could the process develop safer products? This paper will review a pedagogical process that the author created to teach performance glove design.