Uniformity in Motion


Prof. Dr. Gabriele Mentges, Technische Universität Dortmund, Institut für Kunst und Materielle Kultur, Department TEXTIL

Prof. Dr. Birgit Richard, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Institut für Kunstpädagogik/Bereich Neue Medien

The project (2002 – 2005) investigated into actual phenomena of sartorial uniforms ("uniformity”) in contexts like religion (nuns), economy (corporate fashion), consumption (youth culture: Mods) and art (artists uniforms). For our research, we have observed that processes of uniformity ‘wandered’ from traditional fields like military, state, church into the fields mentioned above.

The military origin of the word uniform provides not only the significant characteristics but demonstrates how the bodily self is mainly concerned by all measures of uniformity.

We were interested – concerning all actors involved – how, where, when und why processes of uniformity are engaged, by which impulses are they driven, what are their goals and their specific structures.

Summarizing the results of all projects, we can say that uniforms today even if they are still based on traditional elements as order, homogenisation and discipline, have changed considerably into models of greater flexibility, also concerning gender questions. Thus, uniforms become part of the general fashion process of change, integration and individualization.
Uniformity processes today offers strategies of deceleration, continuity, integration and localization. This is the reason why actors react and cooperate positively.

Thus, uniformity processes  today seem to resist particular effects of globalization as disembeddedment and delimitation.