Biographical Wardrobes: A Temporal View on Dress Practice

Else Skjold

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    Much “Fashion thinking” is concerned with the new, the trend leading and the spectacular. Hence, much debate and theorization within this area of research focuses on fashion as a generic, institutionalized and ritualized system that continuously produces and disseminates new trends and ideals. A large body of knowledge has been developed that aims to comprehend how fashion trends emerge and connect to society and subsequently get promoted by a system of trend agencies, fashion designers, or fashion editors. In contrast to this line of thinking, other areas of research have been looking the opposite way for the last few decades, namely at the down-to-earth everyday routines of people—what is often referred to as the ordinary. In line with the development of practice theory, the area of design research has produced increasing inquiries with regard to the way people’s daily practices are intertwined with time, space and objects. This paper represents a view on dress practice building on this view, with a particular focus on the issue of temporality. Based on her concept “the biographical wardrobe,” the author points to alternative understandings of dress practice that highlight how continuity rather than newness plays a vital role in the self-understanding of individual users.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion Industry
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)135-148
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Use
    • Design research
    • Wardrobes
    • Ordinary turn
    • The fashion turn

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