Mode and mode: tactics for publishing fashion in the margins

Gardner, L 2019, Mode and mode: tactics for publishing fashion in the margins, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Mode and mode: tactics for publishing fashion in the margins
Author(s) Gardner, L
Year 2019
Abstract This study posits the productive difference of marginal fashion publishing in fashion framed through the research questions: What does it mean to publish fashion? and: What are the values and effects of marginal publishing? This is addressed through a hybrid practice-led approach that positions the publication project Mode and Mode as central in the research enquiry.

Scholars have identified a lack of research on fashion media, especially considering its vital role in the production and consumption of fashion. As Agnès Rocamora notes, 'little is known about its discourse: about the objects it creates and represents, cities such as Paris included; about the values it conveys and is informed by; and about the way it operates qua discourse.' (Rocamora, 2009, p.3) To address these gaps, this study explores practices marginal to dominant entities in the fashion industry, additionally informed by how, in the fields of art, architecture and design, alternative and avant-garde publishing projects interrogate 'the page as a productive space for experimentation' (Senior, 2013, p.10). The potential of experimental and small-scale practices is substantiated by Teal Triggs who, in the context of the discipline of graphic design, argues that 'self-produced design publications provide valuable insights into the theoretical and visual concerns that enrich our understanding of the history of the profession, graphic artefacts and their cultural contexts'.(Triggs, 2009, p.338)

In order to contribute to fashion studies, fashion practice and research on marginal publishing projects (a status relational to commercial and traditional practices in the fashion industry), a hybrid practice-led thesis approach positions the serial publishing project Mode and Mode as integral in the research. This forms the research framework and generates reflection on publishing as both 'activity' and 'mode of production' (Bhaskar, 2013, p.18). Mode and Mode is a creative and experimental exploration into the role of publishing in fashion in the form of a small press publication. Its contextual focus on practitioners working outside of seasonal fashion 'provide[s] much needed discourse about the fashion industry' (Thomas, 2017, p.237). Through six issues of the publication, and the editorial practices featured therein, Mode and Mode generates findings in a research model into and through practice, informed by Christopher Frayling's outline of 'research into art and design' and 'research through art and design' (Frayling, 1993, p.5)

Through this practice-led framework, this study uncovers six tactics for fashion publishing produced by conditions of difference from and productive critical relation to mainstream and conventional fashion media. I argue that marginal publishing can reconfigure existing fashion media practices and show innovative modes of publishing that contrast with the historical, and still dominant, seasonal framework of fashion media. Hence, 'marginality' provides conditions of practice that have distinct effects on the creative decisions, form and context of publishing fashion, and produce critical and creative outcomes. This study shows how a sample of marginal publications, operating autonomously from dominant systems and modes of practice, reconfigure the conventions of fashion.

This practice-led study highlights the margins of fashion as fertile territory for artistic and critical enquiry that contributes to fashion media discourse, and proposes approaches for the contemporary practice of publishing fashion.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Fashion and Textiles
Subjects Textile and Fashion Design
Keyword(s) Publishing practice
Fashion media
Editorial practice
Marginal publishing
Practice-led research
Counter-conventional publishing
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Created: Wed, 26 Feb 2020, 15:52:29 EST by Keely Chapman
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