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Entanglement, affect and experience: Walking and wearing (shoes) as experimental research methodology

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Wearing is fundamental to our experience of cloth and of clothing; though we experience our garments through other senses it is a relationship predicated on touch. It is through the tactile experience of our garments that we come to know them; to comprehend texture, fit and form. Drawing upon both a phenomenological and a psychoanalytic approach to touch and wear this article examines the possibility of wearing as a methodology for practice and performance based research, wearing as a means of ‘doing’ research. This article presents the act of wearing, the embodied experience of clothing and the body together, as a tool for developing knowledge, of ‘being in’ or ‘being with’ rather than observing from outside. Building on the work of phenomenologists Schilder and Merleau-Ponty, it proposes a methodology of entanglement – a methodology that draws upon and abstracts the idea of participant observation. This article explores the possibility of a wearing-based research, as an addendum or adjunct to the more widely understood practice and performance based research. It asks if wearing as a research practice might open up new avenues in fashion and textile knowledge, uncovering different aspects of our lived experience of cloth and clothes. What might the parameters of wearing as performance practice be and how might it differ from wearing as a habitual embodied experience.
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Keywords: Merleau-Ponty; autoethnography; clothing; methodology; practice; wearing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Chelsea College of Art, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The International Journal of Fashion Studies is a scientific peer-reviewed journal that fosters the worldwide diffusion of Fashion Studies. Fashion Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that has been producing an extensive repertoire of theories, analyses and enquiries.
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