Fashion Unraveled Colloquium: Dr. Ellen Sampson “Affect and Embodiment: Why Worn Things Matter”

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Fashion Unraveled Colloquium: Dr. Ellen Sampson “Affect and Embodiment: Why Worn Things Matter”


Inspired by the MFIT exhibition Fashion Unraveled and organized by MFIT and the Fashion Research Network, this one-day colloquium explored the concepts of memory, wear, and imperfection in fashion. Speakers focused on imperfect garments and the significance of dressing as a habitual, intimate, and ephemeral act.
Ellen Sampson is an artist, curator, and writer whose work explores the relationships between bodily experience, memory, and clothing. Using film, installation, and sculpture, she addresses the manner in which material objects can become records of lived experience and how the traces of these experiences can be read or understood by the viewer. In exploring the resonance of worn and used artifacts, Sampson seeks to uncover how attachment to material artifacts is produced and maintained. Fascinated by the magical shoes in fairy tales as a child, Sampson completed a degree in anthropology before training as a shoemaker, learning to make shoes at the famous Cordwainers College in London. For several years, she ran her own company and worked in fashion, then her work developed a more conceptual angle and she returned to Cordwainers to undertake an MA. Her acclaimed Masters project, Absences, explored empty footwear as a symbol of absence, loss, and grief. Sampson recently completed a PhD exploring our attachment to footwear at Royal College of Art, London.


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