“Fit But You Know It” is a collaborative practice research project to decolonise fashion industry norms around fit. It brings together design practitioners, educators and STS researchers.
Through hands-on workshops we address the challenge of decolonising art school education by exploring a core concept in industrially-produced clothing: fit.
The standardisation and simplification of fit is critical to fashion’s ability to sell, ship and scale products globally. The legacy of Enlightenment values of universalism underpinning global trade also sees to the erasure of our tacit understanding of how to fit fabric to our own bodies.
Industrially-produced clothing has fit ‘built-in’ using pattern-cutting techniques of darts and seam shaping. By contrast, pre-industrial or contemporary examples of non-western garments, such as a West African wrapper dress, rely on fitting techniques deployed by the wearer’s hands in wrapping, knotting, or rolling.
If deeply embedded industrial-colonial practices are to be challenged, art schools and universities are the places to start an urgently needed shift in epistemic power relations. The project aims to reconfigure understandings of fit to allow for pluriversal design approaches by future fashion practitioners.