Fashioning the body : an investigation into the relationship between fashion and the body
This research has aimed to establish and then explore, the relationship between fashion
and the body. Both involve aspects of psychological and social awareness that apparently
impact on the individual's understanding of the self, and any relationship between them
seems to involve this self-awareness While such a relationship has generally been
accepted it has not previously been formally established and it was for this reason that the
research was undertaken The research was interdisciplinary involving the application of
psychological concepts and knowledge to the experience of fashion and the body. Tbus, it
combined fashion theory with that of the social pychology of the body.
A qualitative approach utilising in-depth interviews and clothing diaries, was adopted.
This involved female participants aged from 40 to 58. Research findings were analysed
using the approach of interpretive revealed relationship that is ( innovate and the functional)
that seemed to correspond with two aspects of the body( the ideal and the ought), and
suggested two fashion processes The innovative process of fashion appears to relate to
the ideal body( the body we aspire to), and is responsible for fashion change. The
functional process of fashion appears to be primarily related to the ought body( the body
we think we should have),and is responsible for the maintenance of fashion trends. In
both cases the relationship between fashion and body seems to be mediated by clothing at
the interface between clothing and the body, The driving force of both processes seems to
be the psychological experience of self-discrepancy.
Research resulted in the development of a conceptual model of the relationship that
accounted for the processes involved in fashion change.