Bachelor of Fashion (Design)
Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours)
The body is a vessel, an instrument. By tapping this instrument, it can embody beyond flesh and transcend experiences of the ordinary. Beyond embodiment of cloth, impressions transcend the natural form through careful curation of the fashionable spectacle, bonding participant and spectator. These experiences speak to something greater than any one person and implicate social and cultural notions of empowerment through embodiment, even in the presence of unofficial authorities on decency and decorum. It is the resistance of these authorities that ground the body as a political site of chaos, challenging archaic structures of power and authority.
By activating the body as a weaponised instrument, we acknowledge the inherent power we have in our agency and the illusion of power placed over them by social authority. Dismantling patriarchal, sovereign governance of the weaponised body inherently inspires and gives permission for an authentic human experience to be shared and to learn from. Regimes serve to suppress and do not speak for all, yet they (allegedly) govern for all. My own performance practice is grounded in surrendering to an authentic self, be it chaotic and/or violent, but that these are actions of myself, for myself and by myself. It is my agency. As a burlesque performer, I strip layer by layer to reveal a fleshy existence that is empowering to my conditioning. A phrase I commonly here amongst my peers is “Fuck you - pay me.” This phrase has grown over the years to become a battle cry from the industry (it has even been copyrighted). Dissecting this phrase, it means my agency is mine, and I live to do what I do. I am worthy. I am a professional. What you have participated in is an experience unlike any other. It is special. I am owed a fee because through this experience I have shared a part of my humanity with you and it is, possibly, more than you have paid for. I don’t care what you have to say because your participation is limited — pay me.
With my performance practice situated as my methodology, I believe it applies as a means of understanding and exploring the fashion experience. I know the fashion experience to be a range of things, even vapid, and it is a heightened phenomenological experience of fashion that I speak to/of. It is a curated experience that makes your heart beat faster and your body shake. Why? The late Alexander McQueen used his own complex human experience as a source of inspiration for his collections, but didn’t stop there. He communicated his experiences through immersive displays of chaos, distress, beauty and tragedy. He curated his humanity for you in the most elaborate, fantastical spectacles.
Authentic identity representations are suppressed via means of discipline in the face of adversity and diminish the quality of life for those deemed ‘impure’. Normalise other lives other than those sanctioned as ‘sacred’. A life lived in fear is not a life lived. Our inception here gifted us with the most potent weapon of all — encased in flesh.