What Do We Know Through Making And Wearing Clothes

Timeframe: 2020 –

This explores the role of practice-based research in Fashion Studies, asking how knowledge generated through practice can challenge, critique and advance the field? With Dr Ben Barry (Ryerson/Parsons) I am developing the project into an edited volume and workshop series .

In his 2017 paper, Ben Barry uses the term ‘enclothed knowledge’ to capture the multi-modal and multi-sensory knowledges, which acts of wearing and making clothes produce. This panel takes the idea of ‘enclothed knowledge’ a starting point to examine the role and position of practice-based research in fashion studies. It asks what we know through making fashion objects, images and exhibitions – and how these knowledges might differ from those produced through more traditional academic research practices?

Historically there has been a division in both fashion academia and education between those who study through making and those who study through observation. However, the ’embodied turn’, and attendant reorientation of the field has revealed the porous nature of these divisions, the ways that in ‘fashion thinking’ theory and practice are often intertwined. In the context of current attempts to define and formalize the field, this project seeks to critically examine the role of practice-based fashion research in fashion studies. It asks how methodologies of making and wearing clothes intersect with and expand upon current concerns with embodiment, tacit knowledge and the sensory experience of dress.