Fashion - New doctoral thesis questioning form-defining systems of dress

Historically developed as a method and a craft practice for bespoke, on-demand production, cut and assemble is regarded by many as unsuited for industrial manufacturing. Driven by a high turnaround neo-capitalist system, its manufacturing industry is repeatedly described as unsustainable, both in regards to environmental and social challenges. However, while there is an increasing search for alternatives, these commonly seek to maintain the linear processes of cut and assemble. Alternative proposals seldom take into consideration that systems of manufacturing rely on the methods of conception and vice versa, and that both entities need to be speculated dependently and in tandem. Therefore, this research explores processes of transposition through and within other imaginaries into form-defining systems for textile-form.

It speculates the aesthetic consequences of dress through material and immaterial investigations neither commencing nor ending with the cut and assembly of mass-manufactured, roll-based textiles. As such, the work explores the informing of textile-form through actual and virtual media and materials inherently different from those of cut and assemble. This allows the implementation of tools and apparatuses generally not used within systems of dress, and investigates as well as integrates these through an elastic and experimental process, rather than as add-ons to a closed circuit of current practice.

Examples from the doctoral thesis Form-defining systems of reverse crafting
Images 2-3 in collaboration with Kathryn Walters and Holly McQuillan. 

Exhibited at numerous conferences

Artefacts have been exhibited at numerous conferences, for example ArtEZ University of the Arts, Loughborough University, Plymouth College of Art, Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design, Universität der Künste Berlin, Dunkers Kulturhus, and others. For the film Planet City, which was directed by Liam Young, Holly McQuillan, Karin Peterson, and Kathryn Walters, the development of several woven garments was commissioned using the methods and techniques developed. The film has been shown at the National Gallery of Victoria during the Melbourne Tribunal and the Barbican Center in London, among others.

How did you choose to explore this particular topic?
My background is in fashion design, both through education and professional practice, and as such, I explore topics that are deeply relevant to this field. I have always been attracted to material processes where form-giving and surface-crafting can be considered interdependent actions and have therefore broadened my interest by exploring methods and techniques that are not based on the currently dominant system known as cut and assemble. In my work, I consider plastic media and materials, of both analogue and digital origin, as equals.

How could your thesis be used?
The thesis gives insight into a thought process investigating what is created through gestalt processes that are ongoing, where different traces are left by different actors, different media and materials. It aims to show what consequences these have for the final artefact and how such processes can be traced in and through them.

If you were to say something short about the creative process, what has it been like?
It has been enjoyable and sometimes painful, as should be the case.

What do you take with you from your time as a doctoral student?
It has been a truly amazing experience, though also challenging in several ways. But first and foremost, it is an immense privilege to be allowed to immerse oneself in practical work, thoughts, and knowledge in this manner. I do hope that opportunities to pursue this type of studies will be broadened, that the need for the knowledge it produces is apparent, despite the current political situation in Sweden.

Karin Peterson defended her thesis in design on 27 October. The thesis is entitled Form-defining systems of reverse crafting
External examiner: Professor Steve Brown, Royal College of Art.
Supervisor: Hanna Landin, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Design, Swedish School of Textiles.

Examining committee:
Professor Cheryl Akner Koler, Konstfack
Professor Troy Nachtigall, Amsterdam University of Applied Science
Professor Susan Postlethwaite, Manchester Metropolitan University

Karin Peterson is the 19th doctoral student to defend her doctoral thesis in the doctoral programme in Design within the research area Textiles and Fashion.


Karin Peterson, Doctor of Philosophy in Fine Arts
Mobile phone: 0762-58 11 70

The research area Textiles and Fashion