A sense of space: the separation of dress and body in microgravity

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In microgravity, the astronaut’s body is suspended in a void, separated from its surroundings except where measures have been taken to tether it to a surface. The experience of weightlessness can be characterised as ungroundedness – the feeling of being out of touch with surrounding surfaces. This sensation extends to clothing, which is suspended in the space around the body, not anchored to the skin as it in in normogravity. While on Earth, the weight of clothing on skin is a constant reminder of gravitational forces, equally, in space, the absence of the sensation of cloth against skin is a reminder that the body is located in an extra-terrestrial environment in which the behaviours and sensations of everyday objects are defamiliarized. This article briefly considers the sensation of weightlessness from the perspective of the relationship between clothes and the body, and proposes ways in which these considerations could inform creative practice in fashion and costume design, and in depictions of the clothed, weightless body.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-378
Number of pages6
JournalThe Senses and Society
Issue number3
Early online date7 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021


  • weightlessness
  • space
  • touch
  • design
  • fashion
  • microgravity
  • space exploration
  • dress


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