This research examined classic design through the three interrelated aspects of the aesthetic response--form, viewer, and context. Classic is a term applied to clothing, regularly, but can reference a variety meanings, including a signature example of a particular artist, style or period; a designed object that has attained iconic status; and objects that are timeless, long lasting, and with universal appeal. Classic is considered timeless in its fashionability; its basic formal attributes and meanings have changed very little. Therefore, the investigation into classic design included how the aesthetic response to the form, results in associated expressive and symbolic attributes and how those impact and inform classic design's role in the fashion system. To explore a potential common understanding and aesthetic experience of the formal attributes, viewer's experience, and the cultural context of classic design two pilot studies were conducted. The results of these pilot studies indicated that the interpretation of formal attributes determined how classic design was applied within personal and cultural contexts. Based on these findings, surveys and interviews were used in the final study and included both personal and standard (to all participants) garments as stimuli. Survey and interview participants were undergraduate students, with fashion involvement, enrolled in a Fashion: Trends and Communication course at the University of Minnesota. Data analysis focused on the framework of formal, expressive, and symbolic attributes described as part of and associated with classic design (DeLong, 1998). Participants discussed many aspects related to the formal attributes in their evaluation of classic design. However, the results gave no indication of a universal set of formal attributes, or form, essential for classic design because according to the findings, classic design exists primarily in the viewer and context portions of the aesthetic response. The form is important as the physical object for the aesthetic experience but classic design is not the form itself but rather it is the viewer's personal and cultural interpretation of that form. Therefore, the form of classic design often varies, but personal interpretations and applications of any given classic design varied significantly less.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Design, Housing and Apparel. Advisor: Marilyn DeLong. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 256 pages.
Casto, Mary Alice.
Categories of Design for Sustainability: A Wearer's Perspective of Classic Design.
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