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UAL Research Online

Inside the Wardrobe: the mediatization of personal narratives and fashionable personae

McDowell, Felice (2017) Inside the Wardrobe: the mediatization of personal narratives and fashionable personae. In: IABA Europe 2017: Life Writing, Europe and New Media, 07-09 June 2017, King's College London.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: McDowell, Felice

As scholars working within the arena of ‘wardrobe’ studies have noted, the wardrobe provides a particular and poignant space in which clothing materializes both biography and memory (Woodward 2007). Furthermore the spatial organisation of these objects is both a process and practice, which works to co-construct a coherent subjectivity and identity (Cwerner 2001; Woodward 2007). Arguably such everyday practices are forms of life narrative that are performed in both private and public, and therefore constitute autobiographical acts that take place between different socio-spatial planes.

This paper looks to the recent manifestation of the personal wardrobe in digital media, and in particular that of the ‘fashionable’ and ‘stylish’ wardrobe as performed by female professionals from the field of fashion. In doing so it utilises the concepts of ‘mediatization’, which points to the significance of media in practices of the self, and in particular a ‘mediatized self’ (Rocamora 2016), and that of ‘fashionable personae’, which concerns the narration of self as a ‘persona’ (Titton 2015). Employing this framework this paper questions how in these instances the mediatized wardrobe is performed as both a product of, and is productive in, the construction and mediation of personal life narratives and fashionable personas.

From this examination a number of insights into cultural and historical understandings of femininity, subjectivity and labour emerge. Here ‘fashion’ is enacted as a verb in which the self is fashioned and the meditization of the personal wardrobe online is a self-fashioning act. In this way a fashioning of life occurs across a multitude of interesting surfaces, gestures and performances. Importantly, this type of fashioning is a performative gesture that takes place between both author and reader of the mediatized self.

Cwerner, S.B. (2001), ‘Clothes at Rest: Elements for a Sociology of the Wardrobe’, Fashion Theory, vol.5 (1): 79-92.
Rocamora, A. (2016), ‘Mediatization and the Digital Media in the Field of Fashion’, Fashion Theory, DOI: 10.108/1362704X.2016.1173349.
Titton, M. (2015), ‘Fashionable Personae: Self-identity and Enactments of Fashion Narratives in Fashion Blogs’, Fashion Theory, vol.19 (2): 201-220.
Woodward, S. (2007), Why Women Wear What they Wear, Berg: Oxford and N.Y.

Official Website: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/ahri/centres/lifewriting/IABA-Europe-2017.aspx
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Digital Fashion Media Life Writing Studies Auto/biographical Studies
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 9 June 2017
Related Websites:
Event Location: King's College London
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 12:56
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 12:56
Item ID: 11187
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/11187

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