• The Ambiguity of Seamlessness: The Poetic Function of Making

Lee, Yeseung, 2012, Thesis, The Ambiguity of Seamlessness: The Poetic Function of Making PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This practice-led research examines the paradox of seamlessness in fashion, drawing
on the similarities found between the process of making garments, the process of
their embodiment and process of research. Integrating practical and theoretical
methods, it suggests that the process of making and using garments can be a
transitional experience, as well as a device that creates ambiguity of subjectivity,
which in turn promotes the subject’s reflexive re-adjustment. This analysis informed
and was informed by making a series of seamless woven garments which reveal their
own construction, showing themselves to be forms in process, representing the
ambiguity of modern subjects.
Inconsistency and contradiction are intrinsic to fashion: it is both matter and meaning,
both cover and display, both imitation and differentiation, but it is always difficult to
locate clear demarcation. As a garment-maker, I metaphorically placed this ambiguity
at the material level of seams, openings and edges of garments, from which emerged
the research question:
What is the meaning and function of the seam and seamlessness?
My investigation through making garments via hand-woven seaming methods, and
my search for an adequate theoretical rendering of the reflections arising from the
making, led me beyond the discipline of fashion, to the fields of psychoanalysis,
anthropology, sociology and art, literary and cultural theory, from which a series of
perspectives are derived. Articulated in this thesis and the accompanying exhibition
are thus the process and result of my explorations through making, writing, and
The making process involving contact with material is a displacing experience that
generates a reflexive value. This demonstrates the ability of garments to test and reset
the essential boundary of corporeal subjectivity through the experience of both illusion
and reality. Dressing practice is thus the making of the self via repeated reality testing.
The poetic function of making thus enables us to generate an authentic knowledge
from the experience of oscillating between disparate states. Therefore, together, the
seam and seamlessness represent the subject-in-process, and fashion as a particular
way of being in this transitional passage.
The estranging effect of my hand-woven seams demonstrate this poetic function of
making. In the same way, the thesis reveals the seams between practice and theory,
and between diverse references, but also their mutually informing relationship.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2013 12:59
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:44
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1366
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