Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management


Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

First Advisor

Eulanda A. Sanders

Second Advisor

Fatma A. Baytar


The evolutionary use of digital technologies in fashion, textile, and costume design has led to significant changes in the appearances, processes, and pedagogies of the three related, yet distinct, disciplines. As multiple technologies permeate the fashion and textile industries and find their place in the costume industry, the need to educate students in the current and future methods and techniques will always be a necessity (Britt & Shaw, 2015). This study outlines the advantages of using digital textile printing (DTP) in costume/theatrical fashion design practice and promotes the integration of digital textile design (DTD) and DTP methods in costume design and production education.

The study was conducted in three phases; in Phase I the use of DTP for costumes and theatrical fashion was investigated, in Phase II costume educators were interviewed to understand the perception and use of DTP in costume programs in post-secondary institutions, and in Phase III costume examples were created and evaluated by the researcher/designer. During this study, a taxonomy of DTP attributes was developed and models were proposed to integrate DTD and DTP in costume design and production processes.

The taxonomy that illustrated the aesthetic and functional attributes of DTP was developed during Phase I and Phase II of this study. Special consideration was given to differentiate those attributes possible only with the advent of DTP technologies. The taxonomy led the design direction and execution of the costume examples as experience prototypes (EPs) in Phase III, to ensure that both the costume artifact and the costume process could be documented, evaluated, and communicated.

Boehm’s (1988) Spiral Model was applied to three EP series resulting in a build of sixteen costume artifacts across nine experience prototypes. The iterative nature of the Spiral Model allowed the researcher/designer to spiral back and forth within the EPs’ design process and across the series to constantly reflect on finding alternative solutions for DTD and DTP.

DTP has many capabilities that make it ideal for the costume industry. The ability to print on-demand and in smaller quantities (Carden, 2016), to recreate vintage patterns in endless colorways, to engineer prints within garment pattern pieces, and to give the illusion of embellishments and distressing (Bowles & Isaac, 2012). However not all costume shops or theatres have access to the hardware and equipment required for DTP (Darragh, 2011), thus jeopardizing the acceptance of DTP. In order for a technology, such as DTP, to be more widely accepted, it must be perceived as having greater relative advantage (Rogers, 2003) and easy to use (Dillion & Morris, 1996).

As a result of this dissertation, two models were proposed to utilize DTD and DTP at various levels of technological integration within costume design and costume production processes. The EPs from Phase III, as well as a series of written and video tutorials about each EP process, served as examples for educators. The alternative methods to accessing the technology, the presentation of explicit and tacit digital knowledge, and the demonstration of the aesthetic DTP attributes expressed in this study, offer justification for the relative advantage and ease of use of DTP. It is hoped that this research contributes to the larger disciplines of fashion and textile as well as costume, and suggests stronger connections between the disciplines could afford venues for accessing digital technologies and for advancing digital skills.

Copyright Owner

Brianna Plummer



File Format


File Size

314 pages