Material memorialisation: new narratives from old by Rebecca Gully

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Abstract

I am interested in the designer as collector. A hoarder of artifacts and information from the past, which teaches us history, to inspire future work. This project involves research into the techniques and concepts behind Make Do and Mend of the WWII era (1939-1945) and subsequent rationing period. Referencing mid-twentieth century garments and Make Do and Mend strategies for preservation, conservation, recycling and economy of materials collapses the distinction between the past and present. The vintage garment has its own history that becomes a quality or attribute of the garment. It is a unique and highly valued artifact of the past. We can use vintage clothing as a means of making ourselves, our practice and our place in the design world knowable. The garment is a window through which the past might be understood; especially past ways of making and the value inherent in traditional skills. Nostalgia is a psychological lens through which we construct, maintain and reconstruct our identity as fashion designers. This project explores nostalgia as a critical framework and how it may inform contemporary and future design practice.

Year: 2011
Examiners:  A/Professor Laurene Vaughan, Ms Liz Williamson, Dr Denise Whitehouse   Supervisors:  Ms Liliana Pomazan, Ms Denise Sprynskyj

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