Dress and semiotics

Reading and listening :

The Fashion and Physique Symposium, at the Museum at FiT. I listen to this while I work at the moment.

In preparation for Water, I’m reading Fashioning the Self: Performance, Identity and Difference (Neumann, 2011). Covering many intersections of my interest around dress, adornment and semiotics, and fashion as communication. Neumann notes:

“Individuals constantly perform and negotiate their bodies in the face of normative, dominant discourses. Clothes accompany this act of negotiation and illustrate intersecting identities. Mixing various styles, for example, through the practice of street style, can demonstrate not only creativity, but also a struggle with identities, power, and patriarchy. The use of disidentification in the day-to-day can create change for the individual, while also offering an understanding of resistance through the body”1

Neumann regards dress and fashion as cultural tools, as objects to assist the wearer in negotiating their lives, to express or challenge power, destabilise and critique social norms or expectations1. I note this as it feels like another connecting thread around the concept of Evocative Objects. Dress in daily life is intimate, immediate and [in]visible, if we wear clothes we are using, rejecting or manipulating principles of dress to express ourselves, every day. Fashion and garments as objects that collect meanings, memory and assist us in constructing identity.

I also have been listening to this podcast series on RNZ, which features well known New Zealanders talking about objects that they love and why 2.

1. Neumann, Jessica, “Fashioning the Self: Performance, Identity and Difference”. Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 475. January 1, 2011.  https://digitalcommons.du.edu/etd/475/

2. Sly, Sonia. “Just one thing”. . Podcast audio, June – July 2017. http://www.radiolab.org/story/91518-goat-on-a-cow/.

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