Transactional Aesthetics, – and so can you!

My proposed research project rethinks the relationship between fashion and art in order to explore ways in which, through more participatory and experimental strategies, designers can encourage consumers to engage with textiles and clothing in a more considered way. In my construction, frameworks will develop that allow the consumer to be not simply audience, but also costumer and co-creater. Possible outcomes of the research include encouraging behavioral change in fashion consumption and within the fashion industry itself by demonstrating an alternative, more democratic model for high fashion practices. As the research is situated in a multi-discipline practice, it will engage with collaborators outside the field of fashion and textile and position itself by moving between art and fashion contexts. Alvin Toffler predicted in his book The Third Wave, (1980) the merge of the roles of producer and consumer because of an inevitable saturated marketplace. He coined the term “prosumer” and said that to continue growing profit businesses would have to initiate mass customisation.

My research poses the question of whether and how a hybrid model of commercial, academic and artistic practice could accelerate an audience-consumer relation to material possessions (e.g. clothes) and new social forms. As a designer I am trying to create a new methodology for the practice of making and wearing clothes, one that fuses a critical artistic and research-based practice with a avant-garde style and design.

Through a series of cross-disciplinary projects, I will explore the relationship between the act of creating and the life of the object created, – creating a research matrix that covers the acts of production, processes of transaction, and the life beyond the point of exchange. Through collaborating with other fields, including the consumers, there is a possibility to develop a multi disciplinary fashion practice that utilises the art-object qua fashion-garment as an interpretive device that opens out onto potentials for fashion to be re-framed and re-presented.