Scratch That!

Victoria Haffenden

    Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


    I wanted to make the garment truly uncomfortable inside, whilst the outside would reflect the ‘secret’ stage of scabies, when the irritation does not show on the skin, and thus the embroidery fades across the back and one sleeve remains plain.
    The textile is machine knitted in polyamide (nylon) flat filament thread in combination with elastane. When steamed, the elastane shrinks, but the filament doesn’t. This causes the fabric surface to erupt in loops, haphazardly exposing the flat, sharp edges of the polyamide which irritate the skin. This feels like a clothing label irritating the back of your neck, but multiplied a hundred times, and that was indeed an inspiration for creating internal discomfort.
    To emulate disfiguring scabs and blemishes caused by scratching, I deconstructed the aesthetic of knitting, commonly associated with softness, and subverted this into an unpleasant experience. Dark red wool fibres have been
    needle felted into the knitting, whilst crisp edged sequins and beads have been embroidered on to emulate crusted scabs
    The garment was conceived as a cardigan after several iterations, but this final shape was considered more practical for repeated donning and doffing, and could be worn by all sizes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2017


    • textiles
    • knitting
    • tactile
    • interactive textiles


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