Design Experiments As Intervention: How May This be Rendered Visible?

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 417
Oral Presentation
Lene HALD , Theory and Method, KEA Research and Innovation Centre, Copenhagen N, Denmark
Building on empirically based visual experiments in the form of design interventions and co-designerly processes this paper seeks expand the field of visual sociology. This is done through an exemplification and discussion of how we might visualize interactive, multisensory and process based aspects within fashion and identity studies. Furthermore, the paper address how visual, expressive and designerly ways of constructing and representing sociological insights affect our understanding.

Visual sociology is based on the notion that valid scientific understandings of our world can be attained by observing, representing, analysing and theorizing its visual signs: manners of people and material artefacts of culture. (Pauwels 2010). Equally, fashion, like the arts, is often considered a visual phenomenon and the creation of aesthetically appealing artefacts is frequently described as one of fashion design’s main goals.

Design disciplines (including fashion design) have, throughout their histories, actively engaged visual methods in the form of photography, moodboards, sketching etc. (Boradkar 2010). Furthermore, fashion design and the study of fashion & identity have been moving towards a broader definition than mere object making by being concerned with activism, critical and social design (Von Busch 2008) - elements that historically have been the core of sociology. This points out some disregarded parallels between visual sociology and the study of fashion, which make it prima facie plausible that visual sociology has a potential for social and cultural fashion studies.

Through visual design experiments conducted within a specific case-study concerned with troubled youths, fashion and identity, this paper seeks to investigate whether it is possible to grasp meanings of fashion beneath the visual surface and re-frame these meanings in a visual and designerly manner.