Dr Claire Lerpiniere

Job: Senior Lecturer - Printed Textiles

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Design

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7587

E: clerpiniere@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/soft


Personal profile

Claire Lerpiniere is a Senior Lecturer in Textile Design, with 18 years of teaching practice, which is particularly focused on the human and ecological impacts of textiles, and presenting students with alternative technologies and conceptual frameworks to develop the sustainable practice of textile design.

Her research is centred on how we use textile artefacts as social agents which are emotionally significant. Such an approach rejects clothes as static objects, embracing them instead as locations of meaning, memories and symbolism.

Applications of these kinds of conceptual frameworks are relevant to real-world design for sustainability, as ‘slow-fashion’ models whereby people assiduously care for and maintain a garment in order to extend its wear, can redirect consumers away from fast fashion models of consumption.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Art and Design

Publications and outputs 

  • The Future of Heuristic Fossils
    The Future of Heuristic Fossils Downs, Simon; Lerpiniere, Claire The authors propose that while many fields of design are involved in reflexive interactions with design research tools, others are strongly heuristic in both their application of historic knowledge bases and in the ways in which they allow themselves to move forward, to construct new knowledge as an extension of craft thinking with user-centred evidence. These historical frames become a limiting factor in both the ways that practice can develop but also, more worryingly, in the ways in which these fields can develop their own research tools.
  • The Textile Archive: curating personal histories and family narratives
    The Textile Archive: curating personal histories and family narratives Lerpiniere, Claire Textiles are a ubiquitous facet of global culture, with the potential to become records of significant relationships, events, and stories over their lifetime. This research project investigates textiles which have been informally gathered together, and kept within the home, for their emotional or symbolic resonance. No longer used for their designed function, these textiles are saved from disposal for their ability to prompt personal and family histories and stories, in a phenomenon identified within the study as the personal textile archive. Textile design research is increasingly concerned with incorporating interdisciplinary social and cultural frameworks within its traditional research fields of technology, innovation and creativity, to frame a textile's socio-cultural relevance. This shift in the field requires the development of specific textile design research tools which are capable of producing purposeful research which analyses the material and designed properties of textiles in relation to their symbolic or affective experience, in order to understand the user-experience of a textile. Phenomenological research methods are established as tools for investigating phenomena and lived experience from a first-person perspective, which the investigation of the personally significant textiles within this study requires. A particular method, interpretative phenomenological analysis, has been specifically adapted for textile design research, and it is demonstrated within this research project that is is able to investigate and analyse the personal textile archive, producing original insights into this phenomenon. Through this application of this adaptation of interpretative phenomenological analysis, the design, affordances and craftsmanship of a textile are revealed as interweaving with its emotional, sentimental, biographical orfamily historical meaning. This is a useful and important original contribution to textile design research, and the recommendation is made that other researchers in the field will be able to utilise and further test this tool within future textile design research studies.
  • Drawn Threads: Drawing as a visual methodology to enhance qualitative studies
    Drawn Threads: Drawing as a visual methodology to enhance qualitative studies Lerpiniere, Claire This paper is an analysis of the value that drawing can bring to a formal research methodology. It is based on a series of drawings that were produced to extend and develop a form of qualitative enquiry, an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This analysis was conducted as part of a study of personal textiles that individuals retain and value beyond their practice use, solely for their sentimental or family historical value, termed, the personal textile archive. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used for analysing the individual experience of these textiles, and was found to be a methodologically sound, yet flexible and creative method of uncovering the data. Phenomenological research methods are established as valid means to investigate subjective human experience, across a range of different subject disciplines (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Such an interpretative approach was found to be an effective method to discern and illustrate the themes that arise through the individual’s engagement with their own archived personal textiles. However, a visual rather than a text-based method is investigated for the supplementary value and illumination such an approach could bring to a qualitative study. In this respect, drawing is explored as a practice-based method of visual inquiry to supplement and support the initial research analysis. Within this model of thinking, drawing is a means of embodied, visual enquiry, which can be used to produce an analytical and evaluative practice that offers further insights to the text-based analysis. Drawing from the final and completed artefacts is a method for making implicit aspects of the experience of their making explicit. The drawn exploration of the material qualities of a textile design enabled an increased understanding of the tacit expertise of the designer or crafts-person, through applied drawing expertise. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the URI link.
  • One Wedding, Two Cultures, Four Outfits: The Phenomenological Exploration of Fashion and Textiles
    One Wedding, Two Cultures, Four Outfits: The Phenomenological Exploration of Fashion and Textiles Lerpiniere, Claire Textiles can evoke an emotional response that is induced by the smell, texture, memory, and embodied experiences that are released through wearing, touching, and talking about textiles. The textile artifact is our most universal designed object, with the capacity for us to experience it simultaneously with all our senses and emotions. The personal textile archive is a term created for this study to describe textiles that have been taken out of practical use, and have been informally, yet purposefully, gathered together. Textile artifacts within the personal textile archive function as both a treasury of personal, social, and family memories, and as a treasury of design details. A series of interviews were conducted in which participants were asked to discuss their own personal textile archives, in order to uncover the embodied experience that arises through interactions with these sentimental textiles. This rich experience of textiles was explored through the use of qualitative research methods developed from a phenomenological research methodology, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Through a case study in which a couple of English and Punjabi heritage describe their wedding outfits, interviews set and analyzed within a phenomenological paradigm demonstrate this method's facility to explore the interplay between design and experience.
  • The Inspiration Board: Visually Evidencing the Hermeneutic Circle
    The Inspiration Board: Visually Evidencing the Hermeneutic Circle Lerpiniere, Claire
  • The Fabric Snapshot - Phenomenology, Fashion, and Family Memory
    The Fabric Snapshot - Phenomenology, Fashion, and Family Memory Lerpiniere, Claire

Click here for a full listing of Claire Lerpiniere's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

'The Fabric Snapshot – Phenomenology, Fashion, and Family Memory'. In: E. Rouse, (ed). IFFTI 2009: Fashion & Wellbeing? Proceedings of the 2009 International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes Conference, April 2-3, London, pp.279-290.

'The Inspiration Board: Visually Evidencing the Hermeneutic Circle'. In: Wade, Sally and Walton, Kerry (eds.) Futurescan: Mapping the Territory, Proceedings of the 2009 Association of Fashion and Textiles Courses Conference, November 17-18 2009, Liverpool, pp.24-29.

Research interests/expertise

Design research methods, particularly sustainable design approaches: development of novel technologies and models for design which disrupt or redirect current textiles and fashion production and consumption models. Emotional and affective models for situating designed objects as symbolic and meaningful locations of family and personal narratives.

Areas of teaching

Sustainable textiles and sustainable design concepts, studio, theoretical and professional practice for textile design including interiors, product, fashion, illustration and cards and wrap / giftware. Career development, professional practice, work experience and post-graduate applications. Concept development, research methods, design outcomes and dissertation supervision and PhD research supervision.


BA (Hons) Textile Design: Chelsea College of Arts. MA Design and Manufacture: De Montfort University. PhD Design Theory: De Montfort University

Courses taught

  • BA (Hons) Textile Design
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Fabrics and Accessories
  • MA Fashion and Bodywear

Membership of professional associations and societies

Design Research Society

Conference attendance

Conference presentation: ‘The Textile Snapshot’.At: Love Objects: Engaging Material Culture – National College of Art and Design, Dublin, 13-14 Feb 2008.

Current research students

2nd Supervisions:

Charlotte Wilkinson

Nalinee Netithammakorn

Professional esteem indicators

Associate Editor:
The Poster, ISSN.20403704

ORCID number


Claire Lerpiniere

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