Talking through our bodies: Draping with a moving subject as a fashion design process

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2017 Gorniak
Degree programme
Fashion and Collection Design
This thesis explores the potential of draping with a moving subject as a fashion design process, both through documentation of practical work and through background research. Over a period of six months I conducted a series of live draping sessions with different subjects. My observations of their spontaneous interactions with clothes, materials and other objects inspired and guided the design of a subsequent fashion collection. Motivation for working in this way comes from an interest in using the body, combined with elements of chance, as the main drivers and origins of the design process. A live body, as a representative of an end wearer or user, is at the core of the process, guiding the design ideation from the beginning. I was interested to find out what kind of garments could be created from this dynamic, collaborative and subsequently chance-based starting point, and if it could generate new garment types or styles which are unique to this approach. The research question I endeavour to answer is: What are the benefits and challenges of draping with a live subject as a fashion design process? One of the objectives was to find out how the contribution of the moving subject, in the ideation stage, alongside the input of the designer, would impact on the outcomes. I was interested in finding out if the outcomes would appear in tune with a live, moving person, not necessarily on a functional level, more in the feeling and aesthetic reflecting the spontaneous and serendipitous nature of the process. Contextually, the thesis can be positioned as design research through practice, combining approaches from performance, choreography and user-inspired design, applied as a fashion design process. The approach also takes reference from practitioners in fine art and photography. The resulting outcomes are a collection of seven looks and an archive of documentation from the sessions. The benefits and challenges are identified based on my reflection and evaluation of the research methods, as well as the relation of the final garments to the process they derive from. The results are one possible version of what can come out of the method, however there are so many variables involved that I see this work as a starting point, with lot of potential for further exploration and refinement.
Hirvonen, Pirjo
Thesis advisor
Peltonen, Elina
Laitinen, Tuomas
fashion, design, improvisation, user-inspired, dynamic
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