Above is the artist Atsuko Tanaka in a wearable sculpture called Electric Dress
“To come closer tot he ideal ‘self’, for instance to become a cheerful, bright and kind person, or to be a good wife and mother of the family, or a company employee who is responsible on the job and in society, one would try to internalize expressions and gestures and to fashion a manner of speech which approximates the ideal image. However, such an ideal image is in fact a construction that has alredy been determined in any specific society or community and when the un-individuated self wishes to become a unique ‘self’ one cannot help seeking generalized attributes which both define and contradict individuality. The existence of identity thus starts with situating oneself within a system of common meanings.
This indicates that neither a ‘self’ independent of the community system, nor the naked ‘self’ absolutely exists. Yet, on the other hand, ‘self’ is not merely the sum of its attributes. ‘Self cannot substitute for any of the attributes found for instance in a cheerful, bright person, wife, mother, or responsible employee. According to Washida, the ‘self’ that will be transformed through certain attributes is not in itself an attribute, but will become ‘myself’ through transformation. That is, ‘becoming ‘myself’ means not a covering of a naked ‘self’ that remains in one place with its various attributes, but the process of such transformations or transitions. Washida considers that ‘clothes’ play a decisive role in producing the ‘self’ via such conversion, something like a ‘revolving door’ fro transformation and transition because conversion of this order always begins with the visible surface for example, expression, gesture or fashion. Clothes can be a key, to the process of situating oneself within society, and “within the frame of the system” because clothes can easily alter the external appearance of a person and, as I stated earlier, clothes exist as makes which communicate the category to which one belongs in society. Thus, we can say that clothes are not covering for the body or the exterior of the self, but a surface undivided from the body and directly related to the invention of the ‘self’. We may say then that the relationship between ‘myself’ and my clothes is not that of the interior to exterior, but an intersection, an entanglement existing on a visible surface where the ‘self’ is created.”
From Searching for a Boundary by Mizuho Kato (who is quoting Kiyokazu Washida, A Fashion Maze).