DYNAMIC CUTTING: How tacit knowledge of material creativity and spatial creativity can be activated using metaphor in fashion design practice

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This Ph.D. research by project takes place in an existing fashion design practice that involves the design and pattern cutting of garments and textiles. The development of professional skills in fashion design in the commercial sphere, in time became tacit knowing formed through repetition of habitual hand-based activities. In this practice design was separated from pattern cutting which impacted creativity in the cut of garments. To challenge habits in practice, a metaphoric strategy was used to adapt new methods for design from a study of butterfly metamorphosis. Fashion design can be led by pattern cutting, however, conventional practice still emphasises the separation of cutting from design, formed through industrial practice. Values of efficiency and repetition continue to influence how pattern cutting is explored and applied in practice. To evidence a greater awareness of diversity in pattern cutting, as it is applied in practice, requires a larger contribution by individual fashion designers and pattern cutters to develop this area of practice and research. Methods for experimental pattern cutting are rarely shared or developed beyond individual studio environments. In this research I develop strategies for increasing material creativity and spatial creativity through pattern cutting by attuning more closely to tacit knowledge formed through material and spatial engagement. Metaphors enable me to better reflect on this knowledge and make it more explicit, while evolving new lines of experimentation through pattern cutting. As a result of expanding this experimentation I develop a new experimental method of cutting garments called Dynamic Cutting. This method involves designing the surface and form of garments simultaneously and questioning the very notion of patterns as templates.
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