Re: Viewing Fashion: A digital materiality of the moving image

Publisher:
Design School Kolding, Denmark.
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Tangible Means: Experiential knowledge through materials, 2015, pp. 48 - 58 (10)
Issue Date:
2015
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The paper addresses the development of a digital-visual methodology to examine the sensuous and embodied dimension of fashion. The paper discusses the conception and use of designed garments called DRESS+. Body-garment interactions are the central focus of this research, conceived as participatory activities generating a range of physical movements including behaviour, gestures and utterances for visual and thematic enquiry. This approach is presented in relation to Design Probes and emergent new media forms notably Fashion film. The paper considers two video case studies. The paper utilizes a phenomenological orientation and research from the field of Body Studies, specifically the notion of Affect. The studies seek to bring the materiality of the garment into view. Materiality is considered not in isolation, but in its reciprocity with the human body. In this regard, materiality is conceived in terms of the responsiveness of the human body and the potential for research participants to embody garments. I outline the research design, including discussion of the design instruments as well as a discussion of their methodological rationale. The video studies are undertaken as a visual enquiry into the interaction between designed fashion garments and human beings. I discuss these in terms of the way in which they visualize the materiality of the fashion garment in relation to micro-corporeal movement. The studies provide an alternative to conventional representational treatments of the body in fashion; particularly the way bodies and garments are shown in lived-body time. They run counter to the dominant representations of fashionable bodies as symbolic, immaterial and a-temporal. I conclude the paper with discussion on the significance of the bodies depicted in the visual studies. The studies critically respond to the way in which habitual and embodied aspects of dress practices are largely absent in the field of fashion studies. I argue in the context of the research that participants orient themselves meaningfully and corporeally to find a kind of situated equilibrium with the garment and I conclude by arguing moving imagery conceived in a digital-visual context has potential to transcend immaterial bodies-as-images by revealing the embodied, sensuous and materially inflected dimension to being dressed. This has implications for the development of innovative research within the field of fashion.
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