Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The origins and evolution of the bra
Author: Shin, Woo Kyung
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 3151
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis marks the first biography of the evolution of the bra from a designer and patternmaker’s perspective. Although the bra has a very long history, it only became a truly iconic garment in the latter half of the Twentieth Century. To some extent this transformation was driven by rapid social and economic changes, but the evolution of this highly technical garment is also inextricably linked to developments in technology which have led to improvements in materials, design and manufacture. Initially these developments were related to designing a three-dimensional product from a two-dimensional flat patternmaking process, but more recently the advent of the moulded bra has offered opportunities to create a seamless three-dimensional garment without the need to construct a flat pattern, and this has enabled both increased design possibilities and raised the prospect of a better fitting product. Through an investigation of the origins of underwear in general, and the bra in particular, this thesis reviews secondary source historical data to chart major changes in design, patternmaking, and technology from the first recorded uses of underwear to the current challenges facing bra designers and patternmakers in an increasingly globalised industry. This historical review culminates in the identification of two distinctly diverging trends in current bra design and manufacture, both of which face significant challenges in terms of training new designers and producing better sizing and fitting protocols. The two primary source studies which emanate from this historical review contribute new knowledge to each of these diverging directions in bra design. The first study provides an entirely new approach to the teaching, and subsequent current commercial practice of flat patternmaking for what many regard as the ‘traditional’ cut-and-sewn variety of bra. This study culminates in a new way of producing, learning and teaching the art of flat patternmaking, enabling underwear design graduates to leave university with the core skills they need to survive in a fast moving global industry. The second major study investigates the salient challenge of providing an excellent fit for both major types of bra across globally diverse and perhaps ethnically different body types. Consequently, it employs cutting-edge threedimensional body scanning technology to demonstrate how the design, sizing, and 2 fitting of both cut-and-sewn and moulded varieties of garment might be significantly improved in the future. Both primary source data studies therefore stand at the beginning of the future evolution of the most technically complex garment in human history, the not so humble bra.
Supervisor: Young, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W200 Design studies