Just another garment: Re-designing our everyday

As co-founder and creative lead behind Carin, Julia (29) shares her enthusiasm for the potential impact of using design within healthcare and technology. This topic she began exploring during her Social Design MA at Design Academy Eindhoven with her project ‘Just Another Garment’. The concept of protective underwear has translated into Carin. Read more about her interesting journey below.

Co-founder and Creative Director LifeSense Group B.V.

Julia van Zanten – Co-founder Carin

Hello world! Welcome to my blog debut in which I will take the opportunity to explore the role of design within healthcare products and systems. Big topic! Yes. Bring it on.

Re-designing an experience

During my masters I was inspired by a family member struggling with urine loss and decided to focus on this key problem of daily life that can negatively impact mental well-being and quality of life. It was the realization that practical solutions exist in the form of adult diapers. But these do nothing to address the emotional side of this common problem.

As a result I developed washable protective underwear for women suffering from mild incontinence and questioned how designers could re-design the experience of an aid, contributing to a person’s wellbeing. The rest is history!

Although a significant taboo, the project resonated with people

Although a significant taboo, the project resonated with people and resulted in nominations such as Social Design Award, exhibitions around the world and awarded the prestigious New Material Award for my project ‘Just Another Garment’.

Protective underwear

Just Another Garment: With designing washable protective underwear, Julia researched the stigma of the daily living aid to improve wellbeing

Building a company combining design and health

Inspired by the public reaction, I realized the importance taking the project ‘Just Another Garment’ beyond a prototype and really making the idea happen. Valer Pop and Mitsugu Yoneyama felt the same way too after understanding the topic from a different perspective at Holst Centre within the innovative High Tech Campus. After a chance introduction we decided to bring our ideas together and in July 2015 LifeSense Group was born. A tech and design startup, we now create wearables for healthcare applications.

Challenging the everyday

It is an exciting time to be exploring the role design can have in healthcare. The doctor-patient role is being challenged by new technologies. For example, how often have you found yourself asking Google for advice with something along the lines of ‘allergic reaction to nuts’? We now have more tools available that make us more aware about conditions or early signs. Wearables such as the FitBit that quantify our everyday and provide a mirror for our inner selves. These are new healthcare tools that are changing our everyday behaviour, perceptions and relationships.

 From 29 February – 6 March 2016, Julia van Zanten @carinwear will take over the @Dutchdesignweek Instagram account.


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