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Zapp, A., 2014.

Textile Media Narratives

Output Type:Artefact
Venue:Manchester and International

This research establishes an interpretative fashion language by addressing apparel and fabric from a media-philosophical, semantic and semiotics perspective. Photo-real imagery is applied to patterns relaying information to an audience; underlying collection motifs range from site-specific legacy and heritage to observations of the everyday. It juxtaposes a reflective and sustainable design process with fast fashion production and offers a consistent visual design profile in an industry where imagery is mostly applied as a seasonal statement or abstracted fabric pattern source.

The research originates in studies of digital media environments and the embedded human body. Marshall McLuhan's (1964) theories of media extending our human capacities, "the same way that clothing is an extension of our bodies" provided a key inspiration. Accordingly, fabric here simulates a screen with the garment being akin to a "media skin", capturing and transmitting information. This design language was further influenced by studies into textile and fashion theory. Sonja Andrew's (2008) analysis of semantic notions and readings inherent in textiles artefacts served as a stimulus, as well as Malcolm Barnard's (2014) theories of binding interactions between fashion, its commercial function, and underlying cultural values.

As a result, a design methodology has been coined, that of "Textile Media Narratives". Additionally, photography is not only employed for narrative purposes, but with image specifics allowing to structure and contour a pattern silhouette. The distinctiveness of this content-motivated design strategy generated bespoke industry partnerships, proving a viable model to enhance a partner's legacy. The visual methodology as a unique selling point originated new research into academic enterprise and spin-out formats. A multi-disciplinary framework has been tested that can be applied as a growing platform to diverse collaborations across sectors.

It has enriched academic debate through presentation at International conferences and exhibitions.