you wear what you are

“The visible and the legible, the exterior and tine interior, the facade and the room: they are not two different worlds, for the visible has its own way of being read… we are always being led back to a new kind of correspondence or mutual expression, “inter-expression,” fold following fold.”

Deleuze’s fold is one of the many philosophical concepts that could be straightforwardly connected to fashion. The name, “fold” already even harkens to the materiality of textiles. Siki Im is one who has followed this (somewhat) obvious association, mixing in his architectural background to create garments that are not just about form, but the space that form inhabits. He lifts Deleuze’s “fold” and creates garments that reflect the interior as exterior, and interact with the space around around them.

If these garments interact with their interior and exterior environments simultaneously, could it not be said that the garments have a similar relationship with wearers? Deleuze states that “the facade and the room: they are not two different worlds,” they are simply one continuous reflection of the other. Im hints at this relationship, as he claimed “my brand is about emotion, transcending any design language.” Perhaps he draws on the concept of the fold for this as well, since Deleuze makes the point that “It is undoubtedly Descartes’s mistake, which one finds in various areas, to have thought that the real distinction between parts entails separability; what defines an absolute fluid is precisely the absence of coherence or cohesion, that is to say, the separability of the parts, which is only applicable to an abstract or passive matter.” In less obnoxious diction (if I’m getting it right) Deleuze claims that mind-body dualism is crap. Instead, he proposes that the mind is really just a reflection of the body, the “coils of matter” become the “folds of the soul.” That in essence, there is no true difference between the exterior bodily persona and the soul since both are informed and shaped by each other. Thus, one could make the connection that the clothes one wears aren’t so separate from one’s interior self. After all, the exterior is really just the reflected interior.

This possible inseparability of clothing from one’s self harkens back to Otto von Busch’s proposal for weak fashion. Although maybe if Deleuze is to be taken literally, weak fashion could be seen as all fashion. But Deleuze’s concept of the fold brings up another question – what about the inverse? That is, if the “coils of matter” are what shape the “folds of the soul” do the folds not shape the coils? We think that who we are affects our dress, but does our dress not also shape who we are?

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