Fashion beyond representation

Shand, Peter
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Textile and Design Lab and Colab at Auckland University of Technology

The promise of transformation is fashion’s most significant gift. In ideal form, fashion is a site of profound elasticity. That ideal appears as both a reflection of constant becoming with its attendant stimulation and as a means by which we might embrace and actively reveal such a state.

As a notion, fashion offers almost pure encounter by virtue of: its existence in duration; a directionless or productively purposeless mode of proposition; its social provocation; and an intimate relationship to the body politic. Its ceaselessness and relentlessness activates imagination, memory, wonder, shock. Its proximity to lived experience actualizes degrees of phenomenological and psychological connection with a striking capacity to move us, to reflect in material form a life immanent.

As a mode of generative creative practice, fashion has a seemingly inexhaustible capacity for invention, distinction and contestation. It both reflects and anticipates existing social and cultural conditions and contributes to their overhaul. Its capacity for revolution is a condition both internal to its own logic and manifest in its realization in the world.

As a means for personal or individual expression it is a toolbox par excellence. Individuals are able to reflect their membership of community and to exhibit idiosyncrasies of temperament, outlook, belief or taste. Nor does fashion of itself constrain those activities – as with any good box of tools ideas and items both may be picked up, worn, discarded, modified, returned to or destroyed at the behest of the user. Fashion enables us self-actualizing exhibition whilst simultaneously pointing to the necessity of its own redundancy. Janus-faced, fashion affords a means by which we may both advance and attempt to still the ceaselessness of our becoming.

Fashion , Transformation , Creativity , Representation , Deleuze
Shapeshifting: A Conference on Transformative Paradigms of Fashion and Textile Design, 14-16 April 2014, Auckland, New Zealand
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