Exploring Esthetic Response to Classic as a Means to Slow Fashion

Mary Alice Casto, Marilyn DeLong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study used the framework of esthetic response to analyze student perceptions of outerwear coats as one apparel product considered for its potential for extended wear. Through a pilot, six coats were selected from an historic collection spanning the twentieth century that were deemed to range in respect to the concept of classic design. Undergraduate students (n = 55) in a design communication and trends course were asked to respond to the six selected coats using 14 word pairs to measure their response to each coat. Then participants were asked in an open-ended question to summarize their response to the 6 coats as to their classic attributes. Responses were analyzed and compared with the systematic analysis of the formal, expressive and symbolic characteristics of the coats. Attributes of the coats that were deemed “classic” and “not classic” included coherence of the layout and surface structure in a simple and a clear visual statement, versatile in that the coat could become focus or background for the wearer, flattering to a variety of body types that allowed the wearer to feel good in the wearing. Their concept of classic involved a sophisticated style that related to current trends without slavish adherence to current fashion or any specific period. Through their examination and analysis, these students gained an understanding of what characteristics contribute to classic design that could help to extend their wearing of apparel and slow fashion in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-131
Number of pages27
JournalFashion Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • classic design
  • esthetics
  • slow fashion
  • sustainability


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