Tanlines, Day 1, Sudoriferous lace design, carbon transfer visible. Photos: Matthew Burgess


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Tanlines, Days 1 -10, process of dress and wear.


Tanlines developed out of an interest in subverting the culturally accepted practice of cosmetically adorning skin with artificial tanning products for a ‘natural’ look. It addresses ways that temporary artificial tanning can alter subjective experiences of skin as much as appearance.

The contemporary popularity of tanning in Western culture largely traces back to trend-setting celebrities including Coco Chanel, who reputedly returned from a luxury vacation on the French Riviera in 1923 sporting a ‘holiday tan’ that thereafter became synonymous with leisure and a privileged lifestyle. Yet artificial tans carry a certain taboo: a ‘bad tan’ is one that appears unnaturally dark, uneven or overly orange.

The design was based on the structure of sweat glands; carbon paper was used to transfer a line work design onto the skin, in the same way that tattoo artists transfer drawings onto the body.

The project demonstrates a skin-based approach to dressing and designing dress. Lived skin is at the centre of this practice: the process of dressing is a means to engage with fleeting, subjective experiences of wearing artefacts in brief contact with the skin. Material Application Projects, or MAPs, are conceived as a simple way of increasing attention to the conditions and experiences arising in the intermingling space between skin and dress.