Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Shared Garments and Forced Choreography - paper to be presented at Fashion – Exploring Critical Issues

Barbara Brownie will be presenting a paper at the forthcoming conference, 'Fashion – Exploring Critical Issues', due to take place at Mansfield College, Oxford, on 22-25 September 2011.
Shared Garments and Forced Choreography
Fashion is often described as asserting or reinforcing social or professional bonds, but rarely is such a fixed bond established as when garments physically link one body to another. We may be familiar with shared garments in dramatic costume, as in Chinese dragons or pantomime horses, but there are also examples of everyday garments that are designed to contain multiple bodies. Examples include Rosemarie Trockel’s double-necked ‘Schizo-Pullover’, Dana Karwas and Karla Karwas’ ‘Party Dress’ worn by five women simultaneously, and Aamu Song and Johan Olin’s ‘Dance Shoes for Father and Daughter’. These garments not only assert relationships between wearers, but make that relationship inescapable by physically binding bodies together. By linking or binding bodies, these shared garments restrict movement, and ensure choreographed motion, forcing the wearers to move as one. This establishes a hierarchy, placing one wearer in control of motion, and others in subservient positions. This paper will discuss the consequences of the wearing of shared garments, focusing in particular on how forced choreography affects issues of identity, interpersonal relationships, and social hierarchy. It will observe how shared garments may challenge or reinforce ideas about the relationship between fashion and identity, and will explore the social motives behind the design of such garments.

See the conference website for details:

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