The ambiguity of seamlessness: The skin ego and the materiality of fashion

Date

2015-06-01

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

2040-4417

Volume Title

Publisher

Intellect

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This article examines the materiality of fashion and the role it plays in the continuous making of personal and social subjectivities, through the author’s own experience of making seamless woven garments. Psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu’s influential notion of ‘the Skin Ego’ theorizes the initial formation of human subjectivity based on the tactile interaction between the mothering environment and the baby. As a garment maker, the author analyses the woven surface or garment as the extension of the Skin Ego, and inquires into the ways that the ‘separation’ from the earliest relationship and the unending attempt to repair this ‘cut’, might become figured in the ambiguity that is found in the seams and edges of garments. Integrating refer- ences from the fields of psychoanalysis, anthropology and cultural studies, this article suggests that the proc- ess of making and using garments – regarded as the interaction between human and material, as well as interpersonal, interaction – successfully reveals the ambiguities inherent in modern subjectivity.

Description

Keywords

seamless, ambiguity, Skin, materiality, cut, edge, touch

Citation

Lee, Y. (2015) The ambiguity of seamlessness: The Skin Ego and the materiality of fashion. Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, 6 (1), pp. 75–93

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design