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Praxis and Poetics Conference 2013

Poetics of Play; Touch and Movement in Garment Design with Sheepskin, Silk and Lace 

03   /   09   /   2013

This is a start to an area of research into both the Somaesthetic responses and dialogue the fashion designer has with materials, in particular sheepskin, silk and lace but also the envisioned Somaesthetic response the designer aims to elicit from the user in the wearing of a styled artefact in these fabrications. Richard Shusterman’s philosophical concept of the importance of the soma, the body as an object of ‘knowing’ through sensory aesthetic understanding informs this work. This research will explore how a garment feels to the body and our relationship with materials. A key interest is how the somaesthetic qualities personal to us might contribute to the psychological attachment to an item and how this in turn may correlate to how we then treasure and keep these items of clothing. The intention to create new processes and practice in structuring sheepskin, silk and lace will start with a representative human frame in the form of a mannequin. Sculptural structures that emulate the frozen physicality of human action will be added to the mannequin and the designs will be based around this new silhouette from which a pattern will be taken and a garment constructed. Once completed the added structure will be withdrawn and allow the new garment silhouette to hold itself or fall to the body frame.

The garment was a result from a physical dialogue by the designer with the differing breeds and varieties of sheepskin that explore constraint, flow, drape, volume, loft, tactility, and the somatic presence of how the user both feels the differing surfaces in some element but also potentially is made more aware of the negative or 'silent' areas where material does not touch the body but rather frames or ‘captures’ air.

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