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Jin Joo Ma

PhD Work

Dress-scape: Wearing the Sound of Fashion

This practice-led research explores the sounds of garments and fashion.

Through experiments with making, wearing, and displaying, the research examines the sound embedded in garments, how garments make sound, and how the body can inhabit a garment through wearing, viewing or listening.Despite previous research into the sensory experiences of the wearer, sound seems rarely to have been explored in fashion research. As this research aims to suggest a new perspective for reconsidering fashion with regard to sound, the practice has been distanced from the form of conventional garments. The maker rather explores non-wearable garments, other artefacts, sound, and installation. The research therefore oscillates between fashion practice and art practice.

This research is inspired by ‘tacet’, the notation of John Cage’s silent work, 4’33”, which invites the audience to hear unintentional ambient sounds. As a result of the inevitable sounds of making and viewing, Cage’s manner of making and listening to ‘silence’ is never silent. This research, rather than acting as a series of problem-solving investigations for knowledge acquisition, is the journey of the maker’s ‘tacit’ investigation of other related issues including modernist artist, film, and exhibition. It thus aims to invite the reader, the viewer and the listener to be ‘silent’ and ‘listen’ to this research journey, together with the maker who acts also as the author and the composer. The journal entries exist as documentation of the maker’s intentional or unintentional thoughts, and contribute to the development of both practical and theoretical renderings of the maker’s reflections on the research.

The new term ‘dress-scape’ is initiated and discussed through a series of ‘artistic practices. Through a practical and theoretical approach to this concept, the research suggests that the dress-scape of a garment is an intangible form of the garment itself. It exists as the resonance of ‘noise’, not only from the relationship between garment and wearer, but also from the interplay with others, as a ‘social resonance’. It draws on related concepts such as tacit / tacere / tacit, affect, surface, wearing, and curatorial display.


  • PhD


    School of Design


    Fashion Womenswear, 2012–2017

  • Dr. Jin Joo Ma explores ‘Dress-scape’ which emerges from the the sound/silence of garments and fashion which is unheard, unspoken, or overheard through a series of experiments. Using sound-devices and making film and installation as well as garments, each affective and embodied temporal, spatial, or material dimensions of the works emanate as the resonance of ‘noise’ from the relationship between garment and maker, wearer or viewer. In turn, the works suggests that the dress-scape of a garment is an intangible form of the garment itself. 

    The boundary between fashion and art is also an interesting and fertile area for investigation for Dr. Ma. Exploring her practice alongside John Cage, Robert Morris, Marcel Duchamp, Sonia Delaunay, Viktor and Rolf, amongst others, she is compelled to stay on this boundary that may oscillate between a blurred and a distinct state which in turn also generates noises.

  • Degrees

  • MA Fashion Design and Technology, London College of Fashion, 2010; BA Textile and Clothing, Hanyang University, 2005