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Friday, December 5, 2014

We live in a visual culture yet our experience of our selves is limited visually. I can feel the expression on my face, but it is others who see them. Similarly, I can use clothes as an expression of self but it is other's who view this expression the most. My view is fleeting and obscured, with glances angled from above or a posed reflection. We see in partial what others see in full; the morning's control rather than the day's abandon.

So with a limited view, we experience our dress as much through other sensory stimuli. The swish of fringing, unexpected air gusts, or fabric swirling around your legs. Feelings of being bundled, feelings of moving freely, rippling the surface of the fabric like a duck ripples a pond. The sound of corduroy thighs or sequins jostling for a glimmer. Pulling at a pilling knit. Hitching, adjusting, smoothing and twirling; this is how we experience clothes.

Textural fabrics continue to dominant fabric trends, perhaps balancing our current visual overload with the sense of touch. Rugged knits, slubbed and nepped jerseys, natural state wovens, crafted abrasions, needled-punched denim, all offer the wearer heightened texture.

Future technologies will take the experience even further with the development of smart textiles collecting data and negotiating between our bodies and our environment, bringing us greater understanding of ourselves (Amanda Parker). We've already seen Ralph Lauren incorporate biometrics into their Polo Tech tee unveiled at the US Open this year. And today $3.5 million was granted to the Manufacturing Innovation Hub for Apparel, Textiles & Wearable Tech in New York. This is such an exciting area of development, exploring through technology what the experience of dress could be in the future.

Henri Matisse | Papercut 1947
Carmen Kass by Philip Gay | Marie Claire Spain, July 2014


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