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UAL Research Online

Gazing into her space: the mediatization of fashionable lives in ‘The Top Shelf’

McDowell, Felice (2017) Gazing into her space: the mediatization of fashionable lives in ‘The Top Shelf’. In: Revisiting the Gaze: Feminism, Fashion & the Female Body, 28-29 June 2017, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.

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

The notion of the gaze – whether male or female – has been employed as a useful conceptual tool in the critical analysis of various forms of fashion media. From print to digital platforms, the gaze has helped to unpack many of the complexities regarding the ways in which audiences engage with visual culture, and in particular with ideas regarding identity, gender and the fashioned body. Yet, as this paper seeks to further explore, the gaze and associated processes of identification in terms of how fashion and the female body is looked at within representations of different socio-spatial planes, requires closer attention.

This paper revisits the gaze in its examination of how one looks at and reads particular representations of lived-in everyday spaces, and in particular those attributed to professional figures, or intermediaries, of fashion. It focuses upon the beauty/fashion blog and website ‘Into The Gloss’ and its ‘The Top Shelf’ page. Typically a fashionable female figure provides an interview that briefly details her personal background and professional credentials and then a synopsis of various beauty products she uses from skincare, make-up to hair body. The intimate tone of this text is accompanied by 10 or more photo-images, which include pictures of said beauty products, as well as portrait shots of the interviewee, situated within her own home.

This paper proposes that the gaze can provide a way of critically engaging with this instance of fashion media. And in doing so it also suggests how the narrative interplay between text and image, identification and the presence/absence of the fashion professionals body, extends upon prior discussions regarding the ways in which the gaze, as a form of power, participates in the production and consumption of digital fashion media (Rocamora 2011). Here it also draws upon the concepts of ‘mediatization’ (Rocamora 2016) and ‘fashionable personae’ (Titton 2015) as a framework that invites a discussion of self-fashioning and life-narratives (McDowell 2017) as it considers the ways in which the gaze, digital fashion media and auto/biographical practices intersect with one another and between the author and reader of the mediatized self.

Official Website: https://revisitingthegaze.wordpress.com/
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Digital Fashion Media; Beauty Blog; Life writing; Life narrative
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 29 June 2017
Event Location: Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2017 12:00
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2017 12:00
Item ID: 11650
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/11650

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