Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Education & Arts

First Advisor

Norm Leslie

Second Advisor

Max Pam

Abstract

This exegesis compliments my photographic project which was to produce a body of work that explores Norwegian identity through fashion using myths and iconography to communicate Norwegian-ness, and depicts the Norwegian lifestyle in a surprising and humorous way. My aim has been to find out if there is any distinctive aesthetic approach/style that constructs, defines and reproduces Norwegian identity, and if Norwegian fashion photography is being influenced by the resurgence of interest in Norwegian style. I have looked at how humans use fashion as a technique to construct various identities rather than a mask that covers the self and how fashion is communicated and mediated by photography. The consumer reconstructs the rules and codes of fashion in their social environment and culture. These rules reflect place and identity, including national identity, which in turn is often associated with nature/landscape and language. Images of idealised landscape can work to construct/reinforce identity in fashion photography if it can be read as uniquely symbolising the nation, e.g fjords, mountains and alpine forests. In connection with national identity and fashion I have looked at the ethnic dress especially bunaden (Norwegian national costume) which is used to communicate geographical associations. Bunaden and knitting have become a big part of the Norwegian fashion industry. The bunad represents a national treasure, it has become popular for females and males to own a bunad that tells where they come from, and is used as a type of garment that reflects the wearer's identity and geographical affiliation. Knitting is a very old Norwegian folk tradition used as a national symbol of solidarity, and it has become fashionable for Norwegians, but also a signifier of Nordic style to others. Both the bunad and knitting are today used as fashion, and Norwegian designers are influenced by them, using the patterns and outline/constructions. Fashion in Norway is influenced by various myths about Norwegian-ness. The literature reveals that there is a distinctive aesthetic approach/style that constructs national identity, using myths about old Norwegian traditions, lifestyle and landscape, and also urban culture. This style has also been combined with international trends which makes it an effect of globalization. I have taken fashion images using elements from the Norwegian lifestyle, myths and beliefs and combined them with modern trends. I have also used landscape that can be read as uniquely ·symbolising the nation, e.g mountains, alpine forests and elements from nature that are typical of Norway, like the elk dog, and plants like mose. I have also used clothes made by Norwegian fashion designers who are influenced by the Norwegian style and national costume: Moods of Norway and Ann Kristin Dahle.

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