Military habits have long been seeping into civilian life, but clothing designed to navigate hostile territory has special resonance in an age of anxiety. In this talk, Jane Tynan considers the embedding of dress codes in public institutions and social life. Tynan is assistant professor of design history and theory in the Department of Arts and Culture, History and Antiquity, Faculty of Humanities, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Her focus on the popular consumption of military uniform in the early 20th century, which drove later experiments in utility clothing for work and leisure, draws attention to questions of public trust. Through a series of biographies of clothing/textile objects, she reveals clothing as an everyday practice that constitutes the political, blurring boundaries between body and matter, spiritual and secular, military, and civilian.
Highlighting the vitality of fabricated things, Tynan considers both the intimacy of our encounters with clothing and the ease with which military styles now inhabit our lives. As material, visual, and digital manifestations of dress continue to fortify bodies against unknown threats, she reflects on what this excess of conflict means for our bodies and senses. She also considers whether such embattled modes of dressing have unsettled our relationship with the natural environment.
For more information, contact Heather Akou, Program Director, Fashion Design; Associate Professor, Fashion Design