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Naomi Bailey-Cooper

Published date
19 Jun 2018

How can embellishment deliver an alternative to the decorative and seductive notion of exotic animal materials?

College: London College of Fashion
Supervisors: Professor Jane Harris, Simon Thorogood


Animal products including fur, feathers and exotic skins are problematic materials (ethically, socially and environmentally) yet remain popular as decorative embellishments in contemporary fashion (Bijleveld et al. 2011; Humane Society International 2015; International Fur Federation 2015). Industry has provided a range of engineered imitation animal fur and exotic skins using other resources (Bolton 2004; Gardetti & Muthu 2015). However, few studies explore seductive and inimitable associations of high-end animal products, applying these qualities to form alternative embellishments.

Context and background

This research advances knowledge within textile design practice by identifying key motivators for the application of exotic animal materials as decoration. Furthermore, it aims to apply that knowledge to design embellishments that use alternative more ethically, socially responsible materials and methods. A practice-led approach enables an understanding of exotic materials in terms of tactility and emotive responses, providing new insight into methods of undertaking novel textile design practice. The design of textile embellishment samples will undergo evaluation to determine whether it is possible to achieve similar responses to that generally elicited by the use of exotic materials as decorative embellishment.