Almond, Kevin and Swindells, Steve (2014) Sculptural Thinking in Fashion. In: Fashion Thinking, History, Theory, Practice, 30 October 2014 - 1 November 2014, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. (Unpublished)

Human thinking in relation to the body is conditioned by an understanding of the body as a three-dimensional form. The fashion designer Madame Gres said ‘I wanted to be a sculptor — for me it is just the same to work with fabric or stone.’ Sculpture and fashion both adopt figurative formations, a default position of representing human form in space, motion and time: both an art form receptive to the senses of sight, touch and gravitational pull. This research questions whether the thinking processes in fashion design are common with thinking in sculptural practices within fine art. The question emerged through conversations between a fashion designer and a contemporary artist and centered upon the use of language, thinking and reflective practices, and the articulation and application of material processes. To address these questions we focused upon two approaches: whether thought and its articulation in the lexicon of creative practice is common and whether there is a two way flow of visual, material and technical influences. The initial conversation centered upon the art historian, Rowan Bailey’s essay ‘Herder’s Sculptural Thinking.’ Our interpretations of this work identified that thought itself evolves in the experience of three-dimensions and sharing our experiences of touch. The idea of the sculptural therefore becomes social; a shared phenomena. We became interested in how thinking begins to take shape in material forms, or the notion of working creatively in three-dimensionality is in itself a structure of the emotions that connect to a line of thought. The first section of the paper establishes a platform for the second section by investigating the significance of touch and mimicry, and the philosophies behind thinking sculpturally. The second section considers the effects of influence between the two disciplines, noting an interaction between the creative processes in sculpture and fashion design, such as: modeling, draping, molding, stacking, casting, shaping and carving. The paper concludes by drawing together the two sections.

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