Transient Structures. Layers of Social Meaning in Conceptual Clothing

Transient Structures. Layers of Social Meaning in Conceptual Clothing| Lucian BROSCATEAN & Oana STAN 

Abstract: Within the conceptual framework of WLC 2016 we have chosen to explore a transdisciplinary approach of postmodern clothing. Fashion has always been a domain in which sociological, philosophical, political, cultural approaches have spoken about its contents and contexts. Recent sociological studies of fashion have revealed the deep meanings of conceptual clothing and the interwoven network of thoughts that is the starting point for such intellectual approaches. Fashion scholars such
as Bradley Quinn, Caroline Evans, Valerie Steele or Malcolm Barnard have underlined the role of conceptual clothing in casting a light upon various social issues and symptoms. Through this paper we want to argument how layers of social meaning transform certain fashion projects in reflexions of the Zeitgeist. In the current socio-political context such investigations do not necessarily offer pertinent answers, but certainly raise more questions and awareness.
By focusing on the works of Lucy and Jorge Orta, and Hussein Chalayan, our aim is to explore the different ways in which social changes, urban reconfigurations, and geographical dislocation question our notions of space, form, mobility, and identity. Our research will be a transdisciplinary one, analysing a consistent part of their work from different perspectives in order to reveal their influence on the way in which the design of clothing has taken the responsibility of becoming a
shelter, a refuge, a mean of protection against the transient nature of contemporary societies. We will be analyzing Chalayan’s three projects, Afterwords (2000), Temporal Meditations (2003), and Absent Presence (2005), and Orta’s Refugee Wear (1992), Modular Architecture (1996), and Nexus Architecture (1993–2002). In investigating their works we shall focus on the character of artistic process, employed by both Chalayan and Orta, by using the objects (garments) and the mechanisms of fashion (runway collection) for Chalayan, and the mechanism of performance for Orta.

Keywords: Social meanings, postmodern clothing, exploration, mobility, transgression.