Friday, April 11, 2008

deep immersion

The past couple of weeks have seen me writing more intensely than at any other point during the project, except for a couple of isolated periods where I was working on the book chapter or one of the conference papers. And it's been great, as nerdy as that sounds. Hard work - incredibly hard work! - but there is also a sense of accomplishment that comes with that hard work. While all the chapters are on their way in one way or another (and how excellent it is to have a chapter outline that is unlikely to change dramatically now), I've been concentrating on the contextual review of the project, or Chapter 2 (Chapter 1 is the Introduction, well on its way, too). Chapter 2 looks something like this (I've left out the lower level subheadings here):

Chapter 2: Designerly Fashion, Fashion Creation, Sustainability and Fabric Waste
2.1 Designerly fashion, fashion creation and fashion design practice
2.2 Fashion design and sustainability, fabric waste
2.3 Zero fabric waste fashion creation

So, the chapter is a contextualisation of the project and I also attempt to define 'designerly fashion' and 'fashion creation' (see Nigel Cross and his usage of 'designerly''). During the project I've discovered that 'fashion' has been defined and discussed by sociologists extensively (Yuniya Kawamura's Fashionology from 2005 is a good start) but rarely has anyone asked fashion designers or other fashion industry practitioners what fashion might mean to them (or that it might be something different in a design context). I find most sociological explanations insufficient (though useful) for an investigation into sustainability and fashion design, hence my attempt at formulating a designerly understanding of fashion. Mieke Leppens in her 2000 PhD thesis actually noted the same problem with the sociological investigations of fashion, and I've since uncovered a series of studies that remedy the situation somewhat.

Sustainability - I don't know what I would have done if Kate Fletcher's book hadn't come out this year. Well, of course I do - I would have been referencing her website extensively. And if you are new to sustainability, be sure to check out lifetimes and 5 ways. These get discussed in the book, too, but the websites are informative as well. As for that last post, I did grossly simplify, in (an emotional) response to a scathing review of a paper I wrote nearly two years ago but only just got the feedback for. (For the record, the other reviewer was very positive overall.) I might post the reviews here later...

So, Chapter 2 is fast nearing completion (pending me getting my hands on the Fairchild book), and the exhibition for the collection is nearing fast. Next in line is Chapter 3, which is very much about the practice-led methodology in the project. I'm not as nervous about the methodology chapter as I might have been some months ago; I think the rationale for the method is getting set up quite well in Chapter 2. As for the collection, there will be some controversial pieces, I think at this point, which I'll blog about closer to the exhibition. The exhibition will not be merely that; I see it as an opportunity to have the work 'audited' by experts from within research as well as practice.

But, back to deep immersion. The unfortunate side effect is that I'm back in a Central Pacific time zone, waking up just before 3am. But, I will finish! (Pep talks to self - first sign of madness?)

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