Friday, June 8, 2012

Fashion Tales 2012 Milan

This afternoon I will present my paper The Metaphysics of Fashion Blogging in Milan at the Fashion Tales 2012 conference. Of course, I wanted to wear something out of the ordinary and I asked a talented friend - Anna Zygowski - to create a dress for me. She first created a digitally printed silk fabric from photos of distressed lace and then copied a style of sheath dress that I often wear. The fabric presented its own challenges for Anna, but I think the result is fabulous. Even if my paper doesn't get rave reviews, no doubt the dress will!

The abstract of my paper is:

The emergence of the fashion blog is an aspect of culture that has gone largely unexamined. Although fashion blogs seem to be a relatively recent phenomenon, the drive to document aspects of one’s life goes back many centuries. Journals, diaries, sketchbooks and albums are evidence of the urge to memorialize and share ideas, events, activities, and accomplishments. For example, Barbara Johnson, a well-to-do Englishwoman from a clerical family, made detailed notes about her wardrobe for the period 1760-1823. Her album, which is now in the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum, includes a detailed description of each garment, fabric swatches, information about cost and trimmings as well as clipped pocketbook engravings with the styles of the day. Drawing on historic precedents and the author’s experience as a blogger, blogs are reconsidered in the context of theorist Michel Foucault’s theories on the aesthetics of existence as creative portals for identity construction. In equating bloggers to Walter Benjamin and Charles Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur, this social media tool is also recast as a forum in which the ephemeral and transitory processes of fashion can be captured.