The beast trilogy: an evolving experiment in fashion ideation

Splawa-Neyman, Tania
Wilde, Danielle
Mitford Ha, Winnie
Lacey, Jordan
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Textile and Design Lab and Colab at Auckland University of Technology

Masses of leathery membranes, wild furs and etched bones. Intangible caresses of bodily fields. Sonic skins stretching on expanded skeletal structures.

Answers to the question: What does The Beast unleash? This question, when posed as a series of provocations, acts as catalyst within a setting in which practitioners as pedagogues set the conditions for beastly emergence. As a conceptual device, The Beast realizes unthought potential by forcing interactions with the unfamiliar. When The Beast is channelled through the medium of unyielding materials, an unconventionally framed body, or unidentified sound, the setting for inevitable altercations is established. The Beast does not submit easily. It intimidates, fights and retaliates in response to the practitioners’ grappling and desire to easily know. The process enables a shift from familiar actions, thoughts and processes to states of “unknowing” and affords new, unexpected and surprising outcomes. The asking of “what is beastly?” further coaxes The Beast and moves seeking beyond physical realms. Within the individual, the qualities of “beast” and “the beastly” invoke curiosity and discomfort through searching made internalized. In this circumstance unfamiliarity emerges and the hunter becomes the hunted. Framed within the context of fashion practice; centred around the “body” and “the bodily” and inherently expressed through making: how do we contend with these emergent beastly qualities? Can they be tamed or do they tame us? Investigations are led by moving, making, and through the expanded practice of listening.

As a framework for expanding possibilities of practice, The Beast was tested within a series of undergraduate fashion design studios. Through the outcomes emanating from the trilogy of studios, this paper examines The Beast as an innovative tool for fashion ideation. As an enigma defying definition, The Beast pushes to unpack unknown imaginings, blur disciplinary boundaries and irreversibly reshape practice.

Experimental fashion design , Fashion ideation
Shapeshifting: A Conference on Transformative Paradigms of Fashion and Textile Design, 14-16 April 2014, Auckland, New Zealand
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