Suiting children for institutions: the development, calibration and stabilization of the one-piece snowsuit

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This article presents a study of the design history of the snowsuit as a product type and explores the constitutive factors in its development. To shed light on the snowsuit as a designed object, the study draws on Actor-network theory (ANT), particularly work linking ANT to design. The study focuses on the Finnish company Reima, which has been a leading producer of children’s wear in the Nordic region since the 1960s. The article traces the development of the one-piece snowsuit from a marginal product type, whose use was advised against because it was seen as hindering children’s freedom of movement, to the ubiquitous position it holds in Nordic pre-school children’s wardrobe today. Innovations in textile technology play a prominent role in this development, as does the emergence of a new configuration of use, characterized by working mothers and institutionalized children, which has increased the demand for garments that are practical, robost and easy-care. The article argues that the snowsuit is essentially a technique for making children more ‘suitable’ for institutions and links the snowsuit to a broader movement towards the rationalisation of family life in the welfare state.
TidsskriftJournal of Design History
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-15
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022
Udgivet eksterntJa