Perception of naturalness in textiles

TitlePerception of naturalness in textiles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsOvervliet KE, Karana E, Soto-Faraco S
JournalMaterials & Design
Date Published06/2015
KeywordsHuman, multisensory, Naturalness, Perception, Textiles, Touch, Vision

In many daily contexts, we prefer natural ‘materials’ over un-natural ones. Textiles embodied in garments that are worn on the body all day, or in bed sheets slept under every night touch us literally, on a daily basis. Hence among all other materials, ‘naturalness perception’ has a strong impact on the preference for textile products. Nevertheless, a stark gap can be found in literature articulating when people appraise textiles as natural. Grounding on previously conducted studies on textile perception, we present an empirical study in which we determined three main aspects which might influence the perception of naturalness in textiles: (1) fiber origin, what it is actually made of (natural vs. artificial, or mixed), (2) yarn type (fine vs. thick yarn), (3) exploration mode, i.e. how people interact with textiles (e.g. touch only, vision only, both). The results show that pure wool and pure cotton textiles are perceived most natural. While mixing wool and cotton with polypropylene destroys the perception of naturalness, mixing in acrylic does not. Moreover, a thick yarn is perceived as most natural. No differences were found for exploration modality. We discuss our results in the light of design in textiles.