Denouement: narrative, objects and images of surfing in Cornwall.

Ripley, Julie (2015) Denouement: narrative, objects and images of surfing in Cornwall. In: Textual fashion, 8-10 July 2015, Brighton University.

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Abstract / Summary

Salt and sunlight will rot and fade clothing beyond repair, even when that clothing is designed for the beach. Swimsuits get saggy, baggy and transparent, wetsuits stiffen and crumble. Prints on shorts and sundresses are leached away by the sun or scuffed by the sand. And holiday snaps commemorate destinations more readily than dress. So how is a researcher of the material and visual culture of surfing to piece together a history of material which is largely decomposed or disposed of, and images which focus elsewhere?
Drawing on interviews with individuals whose memories of surfing stretch back for over half a century, this paper discusses my endeavours to follow the verbal narratives of the clothes they wore, in and out of the water. Fond memories of favourite swimsuits and home-made wetsuits become detailed description with the aid of personal and press photographs, however blurred and crumpled. Consumer choice and creativity is recollected, providing threads to follow into small ads in surf magazines, museum archives and company records.
The thread can be followed the other way too: a surviving garment may be accompanied by a narrative. I was given access to collection of vintage clothing with the stories of the wearers’ relationships to the garments attached, and these too could be pieced together to provide a patchwork of memories.
The end of a story is known as the denouement, which means not the tying up of loose ends, but the loosening of knots. This paper aims to discuss some of the knots revealed by the oral histories that have emerged in my research into beach and surf wear.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Fashion & Textiles > Fashion
Fashion & Textiles > Fashion > Fashion Design
Fashion & Textiles
History > UK
Courses by Department: The Fashion & Textiles Institute > Textile Design
Depositing User: Julie Ripley
Date Deposited: 05 May 2017 13:55
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 13:39


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