Fashion and Ageing: A New Design Paradigm

Name: Ania Sadkowska

Title: ARTS-INFORMED INTERPRETATIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL ANALYSIS:  Understanding older men’s experiences of ageing through the lens of fashion and clothing

Funding body: AHRC

Duration: 2012-2016

Position: PhD

School/Department: CADBE

The aim of my research was to investigate the possibility of adopting the lens of fashion and clothing in order to explore the older men’s experience of ageing. In this vein, as a creative practitioner, I sought to explore the vantage point and the relationship between fashion and clothing, embodiment and the physical and social processes of growing older in relation to individuals’ experiences.

In this research, I have developed a novel hybrid methodology, Arts-Informed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Rooted in phenomenology and arts, this methodology put to the test the concept of ‘making’ as a valid way of data analysis, equal to writing. My research process built on the concept of the hermeneutic circle; the subsequent activities of writing and making allowed me to constantly move between different elements of the participants’ experiences, which in turn facilitated the conditions for more in-depth and holistic understanding and enhanced interpretations. In addition, such an approach gave me the opportunity to utilise my skills and sensibilities as an artist and designer and to blur the boundaries between the artificially disconnected domains of fashion research and practice.

This research found that ageing, fashion, clothing, men and masculinities are not disjointed. Fashion and clothing was not only revealed as a valid and useful lens through which individuals’ experiences of ageing can be analysed and interpreted but also the experiences of men in this study proved to be rich and meaningful. A composition of the research outcomes consisted of a series of suit jackets, short films and written accounts offering novel insights into a particular sample of men’s individual and shared experiences of ageing.

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