Fashion in the Expanded Field: Strategies for Critical Fashion
This paper focuses on current strategies for critical fashion practices in an expanded field of fashion. In the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, the field of fashion studies has increasingly scrutinized the relationship between fine art and fashion
within an art museum context. Drawing a parallel with Rosalind Krauss’ notion of sculpture in the expanded field (Krauss 1979), this paper documents the development of interdisciplinary fashion practices since the early 1990s, suggesting that an expanded field
allows fashion practitioners to engage in a critical discussion of the fashion system. As a fashion practitioner focusing on non-productivist interdisciplinary techniques across multiple media (the fashion film, sculpture, installation, and performance), I test this notion by developing parallels between contemporary fashion and Krauss' 1979 diagnosis. Most literature connecting fashion and art focuses on defining this relationship. Some authors (Geczy and Karaminas 2012) discuss the evolution of fashion image-makers throughout the twentieth century as having moved from depicting perfection and elegance to articulating fashion’s ephemerality via digital media formats. In this context, according to Robyn Healy, the cinematic/video apparatus has given fashion designers and curators the possibility to construct atmospheric environments and facilitated interdisciplinary practices, where clothes are presented as part of a larger work signifying the fashion idea (Healy 2013). With the advent of the digital age amidst growing concerns regarding sustainability and the fast fashion system, could this mean the end of a certain form of fashion related to production and consumption? Indeed, a postmodern understanding of fashion might suggest open-ended explorations of a possible new role for the designer within a post-product society (Margolin 1998). This paper argues for the relevance of establishing theories of interdisciplinary practice to better understand the contemporary field of fashion, challenging assumptions about fashion’s role in the twenty-first century.
Keywords: critical fashion, expanded field of fashion, fashion film, practice-based research
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Healy, Robyn. 2013. “Immateriality.” In The Handbook of Fashion Studies edited by Sandy
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Krauss, Rosalind. 1979. “Sculpture in the Expanded Field.” October 8: 31–44.
Margolin, Victor. 1998. “Design for a Sustainable World.” Design Issues 14.2: 83-92.
View of the Exhibition in Wellington