Emphasis upon feeling, emotion and sensation is a priority in the work of sociologist Loïc Wacquant, whose pioneering work on ‘carnal sociology’, which is not of the body but from the body (2015), was influential in the methodology I adopted for this work. I also draw upon Bourdieu’s theory of habitus and field, which was defined in his works The Logic of Practice (1990) and The Field of Cultural Production (1993a). Bourdieu’s theory of field has been used as a framework that is useful for understanding spaces in which fashion is ‘played out’ (Entwistle and Rocamora 2006). Habitus is a cognitive space through which individual experiences inform how a person dresses and regards the dress of others; it is a space in which fashion knowledge is created, conceptualised and reflected upon.
This work documented the practice and process of fashioning my body in a way that I was unused to through what Wacquant (2015) might refer to as ‘enactive ethnography’, a performance of the phenomenon (of self-fashioning). I consciously engaged in a performance of fashioning my body using materials and instructions provided by other people: Sarah and Marie. The ‘stage’ for the performance was my day-to-day work environment, the School of Art Design and Fashion at Solent University, Southampton in the United Kingdom.