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Urban Flâneur: A Site-Responsive Walking Methodology for Fashion Design

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Experiential Walks for Urban Design

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Abstract

Walking is fundamental to how we occupy and navigate our world. Our streets are populated by walking, dressed bodies yet the role of walking has been largely overlooked by the field of fashion design. This chapter examines how fashion can play a role in producing experiences and understandings between (dressed) social bodies and urban environments. Firstly, it proposes that walking the city is a critical activity for fashion practice that can be utilised by creative practitioners to build embodied and situated knowledges of place through a methodology of ‘urban flâneurie’. Secondly, it demonstrates how a critically reflective approach to walking can enhance how fashion presentations—such as runways and public events—contribute to place-making through engagement with urban environments. These concepts are explored through a case study of a site-responsive fashion project in Victoria Harbour, Australia, entitled Urban Flâneur, which resulted in two creative public events. Here, walking becomes a method for fashion designers to study complex relationships arising between fashion, culture and place, and to produce outcomes that activate the urban site.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the context of this research, sites are specific spatial locations with defined boundaries [31, 30] as well as discursively determined and generated sites that delineate a field of knowledge, cultural exchange or debate [21]. In each instance sites are understood to contain the potential for transformation through design practice, presentation or performance.

  2. 2.

    For examples of their creative work see Fulton [11], Fulton et al. [12], Long [25], and Cardiff [5].

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the following parties for their support of this project: RMIT University, Lendlease, The Exchange team (Charles Anderson, Komal Lakhanpal, Ross McLeod, Shanti Sumartojo, Natasha Sutila, Bianca Vallentine), consulting disciplinary specialists (Andrea Eckersley, Andy Fergus, Ceri Hann, John MacKinnon, Glen Rollason, Laurene Vaughan), collaborating RMIT Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) students (Tom Harman, Adam Hogan, Rory Tyzack, and sound design project leader Mitchell Waters), alumni of the 2018 RMIT Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) Urban Flâneur studio, and those who contributed to the Urban Flâneur project public events.

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Correspondence to Tarryn Handcock .

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Handcock, T., Joannides, T. (2021). Urban Flâneur: A Site-Responsive Walking Methodology for Fashion Design. In: Piga, B.E.A., Siret, D., Thibaud, JP. (eds) Experiential Walks for Urban Design. Springer Tracts in Civil Engineering . Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-76694-8_16

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-76694-8_16

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