Materiality, Method, and Mess. Object-based Research in Fashion Studies.
The non-anthropocentric approach to thinking about matter that lies at the core of New Materialism has also lead to a fresh interest in the specific material qualities of the fashion object in Fashion Studies. This conceptual shift asks for a distinct method to analyze the materiality of dress. The method that is currently used, Object-based Research, is mostly applied in a traditional museum setting, leading to an emphasis on dating and categorizing, thus limiting its use for a broader cultural understanding of fashion. As I will argue in this thesis, the ontological and epistemological propositions of New Materialism have consequences for thinking about method in general. A New Materialist approach to the method of Object-based Research focusing on increasing affective flow within the research model leads to a more subjective evaluation of the fashion object, opening up possibilities for a deeper engaging with the material qualities of fashion.
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