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UAL Research Online

A Visual Footnote: Reflecting on the Thinking and Writing of Fashion Histories

McDowell, Felice (2014) A Visual Footnote: Reflecting on the Thinking and Writing of Fashion Histories. In: Fashion Thinking - Theory, History, Practice, 30 October - 1 November 2014, University of Southern Denmark.

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

The history of fashion is often associated with the charting of changes that take place in the object of dress, or more precisely fashionable dress, over a period of time. The emergence of 'fashion studies', a trans-disciplinary field of research, has witnessed the study of past fashion move beyond a reliance on chrononlogical and stylistic accounts of dress, or 'hem-line' history. In this arena of scholarship fashion history is plural; fashion histories can concern a wide range of materials and mothods of analysis, that seek to investigate and discuss the social and cultural significance of fashion in a multitude of contexts.

This paper addresses paradigms of history by questioning how different theoretical methods and models of research inflect, explicitly or implicitly, the construction of fashion histories. It discusses how the processes and practices of historical resarch in the 'field' or archive, continue into the writing of history and the visual presentation of materials. It argues that in the overall game of historical play, the show and tell element of history writing is as intrinsic as the game of hide and seek that takes place in other forms of historical research.

To explore this further I draw upon the work conducted for my PhD thesis 'Photographed at... Locating Fashion Imagery in the Cultural Landscape of Post-War Britain 1945-1962'. This study examines a history of fashion and art in post-war Britain, focusing on how institutions and spaces of public culture - such as museums, galleries and art schools - were used as locations for editorial photo-spreads published in contemporary UK fashion magazines Vogue and Harper's Bazaar published between 1945-1962.

This paper focuses on how part of this research was organised and presented as a series of 'visual footnotes', that is, additional visual information, in the body of the thesis. I entitled this presentation of visual material and evidence 'a layout board', in reference to the practice of planning and organisation that goes into the making and construction of the fashion magazine.

Official Website: http://www.sdu.dk/en/Om_SDU/Institutter_centre/Idk/Arrangementer/FASHION+THINKING
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Fashion Media, Historical Practices, Visual Methodologies, History Writing
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 2014
Event Location: University of Southern Denmark
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 11:58
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2014 11:58
Item ID: 7649
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/7649

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