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The Fabric of Life

Can fashion connect people?

An essay by dr. Aurélie Van de Peer

Aurélie Van de Peer is a fashion theorist, and holds a PhD in Sociology and Philosophy. After obtaining a doctorate on the politics of fashion journalism at Ghent University and Catholic University of Leuven, she now is questioning her role as a fashion journalist. For the Belgian magazine Charlie Magazine, Aurélie writes and talks about fashion as a cultural phenomenon and an industry. She is not interested in what you wear but rather how fashionable dress makes you feel. In this essay for the magazine Charlie she argues that textile and dress are being able to create meaning for the wearer.

She begins her essay by explaining her most valuable clothing item and why it is so meaningful to her. Aurélie describes her viewpoint on being emotionally connected to fabric, fabric as a tool to absorb (historical) stories and therefore it creates meaning. How is this type of fabric different from the fabric that is a part of the clothing we wear that originates from a western fashion system and why is this fabric able to create less meaning? Aurélie believes that fashion alienates ourselves from the things, objects and people around us. We look at people around us with a distance, including ourselves, as strangers. She believes that we no longer live in a time where clothing is being used for a long period and therefore is often disposed.

Because the world of fashion has been in a constant acceleration of its production and consumption cycles, our fashionable outfits cannot create the same meaning that fabric can create: a deeper connection between people and things around us. Social connection requires time.

In the essay Aurélie refers to Daniëlle Bruggeman and the research project on Emotionally Durable Design, which focuses on the emotional connection between human beings and material objects.

If you want to read the full article (in Dutch), you can visit this link

  • Ethical Subjectivity
  • New Materialism

DATE PUBLISHED March 4, 2020