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  • Revival: The Aesthetics of Revival Subcultures and Re-enactment Groups Explored Through Fashion Image-making

Clements, Nicholas, 2011, Thesis, Revival: The Aesthetics of Revival Subcultures and Re-enactment Groups Explored Through Fashion Image-making MPhil thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This research aims, through performance, fashion photography, video making and the theatrical devices that accompany such practice, to explore the style of a contemporary, largely male, subcultural collective. The common term that joins these loosely bound groups is revival as they appear driven by an impulse to simulate and re-enact the dress, rites and rituals of British and American subcultures from a perceived golden era. The similarities with re-enactment societies are also explored and exploited to the end of developing new style- based aesthetics in male fashion image-making formed around an elaborate re- enactment of Spartacus and the Third Servile Wars. Examined through comparative visuals (revivalists / re-enactors) a common thread is found in the wearing of leather as a metaphor for resistance, style and a pupa-like second skin. Subsequent findings of this research suggest that the cuirass of popular culture emerges as the motorcycle jacket of both the sword and sandal epic and the historical re-enactor.
Addressing extremes in narcissistic dress and behaviour amongst certain individuals within these older male communities, this study also questions parts of established theory on subcultural development within the field of cultural studies and postulates on a metaphorical dandy gene. Citing two leading practitioners in the field of fashion photography the work of both Richard Prince and Bruce Weber is viewed through the lens of the subcultural aesthete and conclusions drawn as to their role as agents provocateurs in the development of the fashion image with a revival based narrative. In addition the often used term retro is examined, categorised and granted its own genre within fashion image- making and defined as being separate from the practice element of this research.
Reflecting a multi-disciplinary approach that engages the researcher as Bricoleur and participant observer this research operates in the reflexive realm and uses simulation as a key method of enquiry. The practice-led outcome of this investigation takes the form of a final research exhibition that takes the form of a substantial installation of photography, video, clothing and textile prints.

Key terms: dandy gene, historical re-enactment groups, internal theatre, narcissism, narrative image-making, reflexive practice, revival as theatre, subcultures,

Qualification Name: MPhil
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W230 Clothing/Fashion Design
School or Centre: School of Material
Copyright Holders: Nick Clements
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2012 15:04
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2016 11:02
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/949

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