OCAD University Open Research Repository

Katha Haru: Autoethnographic Stories of Cultural Identity, Body Positivity and Self-Empowerment Told Through Kinetic Garments

Thapa, Ayesha (2024) Katha Haru: Autoethnographic Stories of Cultural Identity, Body Positivity and Self-Empowerment Told Through Kinetic Garments. Masters thesis, OCAD University.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Thapa, Ayesha

In this thesis, I embark deeply on a personal journey, exploring how kinetic garments challenge and intersect with prevailing body image norms. Growing up in Nepal, a country where societal and gender norms are distinctly defined, I experienced first-hand the profound impact of these norms on personal identity and self-esteem. My transition to living in Western countries further deepened my understanding of these complex cultural dynamics. This thesis is an exploration of my evolution, both as an individual and in my interaction with society, through the lens of fashion and kinetic garments.
Central to my thesis are three research questions: (1) Can kinetic garments assist in questioning prevailing body image norms? (2) Can garments that change shape enhance self-confidence? (3) And in what ways do kinetic garments reshape experiences of societal standards of body image? These questions guide the exploration of my personal experiences and the broader cultural implications of kinetic garments.
This autoethnographic thesis is a blend of a personal narrative and an academic inquiry, offering insights into the transformative power of fashion as a form of personal fashion, and identity, positioning kinetic garments as innovative instruments for fostering self-confidence and challenging societal norms.
Through this thesis, I aim to illuminate the potential of kinetic garments to serve as a vehicle for personal and societal change. By intertwining my personal experiences with research-creation, I seek to demonstrate how fashion, particularly kinetic garments, can be a powerful medium for self-expression and societal critique. This exploration delves into the ways in which these garments, with their ability to change shape and adapt to different sizes, can challenge, and redefine traditional notions of beauty and body image. In doing so, they offer a path towards greater self-acceptance and a reimagining of societal standards.
This research illuminates the transformative power of kinetic garments in challenging deep-seated societal norms related to body image, offering a novel pathway for personal empowerment and promoting body positivity. By weaving personal narratives through an autoethnographic methodology, it provides a nuanced exploration of how these innovative garments can serve as a medium for expressing and redefining cultural identity. These dynamic fashion pieces not only offer new ways to express individuality but also act as a unique platform to confront and reframe entrenched societal attitudes towards body image. Moreover, they emerge as significant catalysts for enhancing my self-confidence, enabling me to redefine my relationship with my body and societal expectations. The significance of this research extends beyond its academic contributions, inspiring a re-evaluation of the role of fashion in our lives and encouraging a dialogue about how clothing can transcend its functional role to become a means of challenging and transforming societal norms. By delving into the intersection of personal experience, cultural context, and the innovative realm of kinetic garments, this thesis adds a valuable perspective to the ongoing conversation about body image, self-confidence, and the transformative power of fashion, advocating for a broader, more inclusive understanding of beauty and self-expression.

Date: 7 May 2024
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design
Date Deposited: 07 May 2024 15:18
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 15:18
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/4436

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