Enclothed Knowledge: The Fashion Show as a Method of Dissemination in Arts-Informed Research

Ben Barry


In this article, I investigate the processes, benefits and dilemmas of producing a fashion show as a method of dissemination in arts-informed qualitative research. I examine a project that used a fashion show to analyze and represent interview findings about men's understandings and performances of masculinities. Fashion shows facilitate the dissemination of new qualitative data—what I coin "enclothed knowledge"—which is embodied and inaccessible through static or verbal descriptions. Fashion shows also enable participants to shape knowledge circulation and allow researchers to engage diverse audiences. Despite these benefits, researchers have to be mindful of ethical dilemmas that occur from the absence of anonymity inherent in public performances and therefore I suggest strategies to mitigate these threats to research ethics. Ultimately, I argue that fashion shows advance social justice because the platform can transform narrow, stereotypical understandings of marginalized identities.


arts-based research; arts-informed research; clothing; embodiment; fashion show; gender; masculinity; participatory; performance

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.3.2837

Copyright (c) 2017 Ben Barry

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