‘Clothes are… implicated in the politics of age through their larger role as bearers of cultural meaning… [The Fashion System] presents an idealised world in which age does not feature, or in which it represents a dereliction, a corruption of the vision, a falling off and failure, something to be excluded and ignored.’ (Twigg, 2013: 8-11).
‘When you are young, people, tell you that you look nice all the time – and then one day, that stops. That’s why I started to dress like this.’ (Wellcome Collection participant).
I enjoy working collaboratively, frequently developing workshops as part of my research practice and emphasising enquiry-based learning in my teaching. This open-participation event took place in the Wellcome Collection Reading Room, a multipurpose exhibition/library/discussion space. Participants were invited to discuss their own social and cultural perceptions of ageing by engaging with a range of fashion-based media. Using magazine imagery spanning 125 years, they mapped the similarities and differences in the status and representations of older consumers, noting down their personal responses. Following the themes discussed, they then generated a series of counter-materials (design provocations) challenging these identity constructions. Methods employed included collage (alternative hybrid magazine images) and low-fi rapid prototyping through altering second-hand garments. The event was also run with a cross-section of MA Design students at Goldsmiths University. Outcomes are correspondingly featured below.
Photography by Lili Golmohammadi.
Julia Twigg, 2013 ‘Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life’, London: Bloomsbury, pp. 8-11.