Is Fashion Effecting Posthumanism? A Review of Innovations and Creative Patterns That Are Shaping Fashion’s Future

  • Kenneth Wilkinson

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis tested the following hypothesis: innovation and creativity in fashion are effecting posthumanism.

Through a review of the literature, five core themes in posthumanism were identified: species equivalence, biotechnological hybridity, embodiment, non-alterity (versus alterity), and subjectivism.

Examples of newness in two areas of fashion innovation and creativity were identified: wearable computing, and smart textiles. These were qualitatively analysed to ascertain the presence of posthuman influence and/or the posthuman fashion-effecting potential within them.

Six theoretical findings resulted from the analysis:

1. Powerful concordances connect the examples with the major themes of posthumanism – ergo, the hypothesis was supported.

2. As a result, the Circuit of Fashion Formation can be articulated in higher resolution.

3. The fashion-posthumanism dynamic can be expressed via McLuhan’s Laws of Media.

4. The centrality of Artificial Intelligence is deducible through its presence in both areas of newness, so Artificial Intelligence was proposed as the third area of fashion innovation.

5. Reflecting the schism in the literature regarding homogenization versus heterogenization in posthuman society, two posthuman fashion scenarios were proposed: Monograd and Polyopia.

6. “Sans-notumism”, an original theorization with futurological as well as fashion-related significance, was defined.

The applications of and implications for these findings in terms of fashion research, education, and professional practice close this thesis.
Date of Award26 May 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJames Dyer (Main Supervisor) & Jade Halbert (Co-Supervisor)

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