Studio Interview - Perceptual Thinkers

Feature Story

Budapest, Hungary

Perceptual Thinkers draws inspiration from the behaviour and clothing preferences of people living with autism. Its clothing lines aim to give an insight into this specialist perception by using stimulating fabrics and playful design patterns to experience clothing as a sensorial phenomenon.

It believes that the clothes are a means of communication — that the way we dress is the way we interact with other people. And that clothes are capable of serving many different needs, either completely ordinary or special ones.

The company’s main focus is on physical perception, therefore it places playful, stimulating details, or conversely, calming effects on the clothes. It thinks that this sensitive state of mind provoked by the clothes helps us to understand the peculiar perception of people living with autism as much as it concentrates on our inner needs.

Because they follow the ethos of design for all, these clothes are as suitable for neurotypical people as for those who are affected by autism. They are not medical aids nor are they fully conceptual clothes — they aim for something in between. Their goal is to spread the notion of “conscious shopping”, so as much background information as possible is provided about the products.

What do you see as the main advantages and main drawbacks of working in a large or medium-sized design studio?

More freedom and responsibility. Having your own time and resource allocation and complete creative freedom. However, we are fully committed to ourselves and to the market. As a novice, though, it is very difficult to get close to the fire.

Can any comparison be drawn between the way design studios function and a rugby team plays?

The main thing is that everyone has their own dedicated task and only needs to focus on that. By working with a variety of specialist professions, we can achieve a more efficient and comprehensive operation in a design team. Specified knowledge for a team, combined with a common unified knowledge, can provide a good basis for effective working.

How do you believe Design Thinking can help governments in public service design to increase their effectiveness?

In my opinion, design is a universal knowledge that affects our communities on many levels. It can give a concrete solution to everyday problems but also to larger problems. Beyond its economic role, it can also help people in social issues. Through the Perceptual Thinkers brand, we are investigating the ability of a fashion product to help us get to know a foreign social issue. Our clothes are capable of presenting (positively) a social phenomenon such as autism, which is really misunderstood. So design can also act as a social shaping force beyond product development.