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Title: Making sense of everyday dress : integrating multisensory experience within our understanding of contemporary dress in the UK
Author: Chong Kwan, Sara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 2691
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2016
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Multisensory perception is fundamental to the wearer’s experience of everyday dress, yet this remains an under-researched area within fashion and dress studies. Dress is predominantly described in visual terms, while much less attention has been paid to other relevant sensory aspects such as; touch, sound,smell - and to a lesser degree taste - and to the ways in which these interact. Similarly, within the now established field of sensory scholarship, little attention has been paid to the topic of dress. One of the contributions of this thesis is to address the above gaps in relation to both male and female contemporary UK dress(and more generally, dress within a Western context). It also attends to the wider academic neglect of male dressed experience. This thesis draws upon sensory scholarship to bring a fresh perspective to current embodied understandings of everyday dress, thereby contributing to the field of dress studies by explicitly focussing on the sensory nature of dress. This research aims to foster an inter-disciplinary research field of ‘fashion, dress and the senses’. A new body of data, based on individual testimony around sensory experience of dress, has been collected using life-world interviews with twenty participants, both men and women, incorporating material culture analysis. Contextualised within the specific social and cultural lives of the participants, the analysis of this data is distinctive in that it weaves together material, cultural,social, phenomenological and sensory perspectives. The analysis explores how sensory engagement with dress affected both the materiality of the dress items and the participants by triggering behaviour,thoughts, memories and emotions. Felt on the boundaries of the body, dress is positioned as providing a sensory atmosphere for the wearer, one that negotiates the tensions between private and public experience, enabling the participants to push out into and pull back from the world. It is therefore argued that sensory engagement with dress is an integral part of the wearer’s everyday negotiation of the self within social life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fashion History & Theory