Fashion Revolution Day - Friday 24th April 2015

 

A few weeks ago on Friday 24th April 2015, I joined the Fashion Revolution! Thousands of people took to the Internet and to the streets to challenge the way the fashion industry currently works and ask #whomademyclothes. This year marked the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1133, and injured over 2500 people.

The Fashion Revolution was initiated in 2013 by Carry Somers, Orsola DeCastro and Jocelyn Whipple , with the support of a global advisory committee of academics, designers and businesses leaders exploring sustainable fashion and textile design.

"WE BELIEVE IN FASHION – AN INDUSTRY WHICH VALUES PEOPLE, THE ENVIRONMENT, CREATIVITY AND PROFITS IN EQUAL MEASURE, AND IT’S EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT THIS HAPPENS." Fashion Revolution, 2015.

This year, I volunteered to be regional co-ordinator for Scotland, alongside Niki Taylor and Annalisa SimonellaWe hosted a Pop Up exhibition titled “Who Made My Clothes?” at the Lighthouse, in Glasgow. This exhibit showcased sixteen reclaimed garments, the average amount disposed of annually  per person (WRAP, 2013). Our aim was to encourage cherishability by demonstrating a rich mix of techniques for refashioning items within our own existing wardrobes. The garments showcased included work from Prof Becky Earley, Shirley McLaughlan, 

We also hosted a master class demonstrating how to give back life to old clothes by successful costume designer and sewing teacher Iona Barker. Visitors were invited to ask well known brands #whomademyclothes by sharing a selfie using social media via our Photo Booth that will include a ‘Fashion Tardis’ for styling and transforming your outfit ensemble before staring in your own photo shoot. During the afternoon we initiated a Fash Mob on Glasgow’s busy high street. As we marched through the high street, curious passers-by asked us questions. 

During the evening we hosted a film vert, curated by Annalisa.

I would also like to say thank you to:

  • Ian Elder, Director at the Lighthouse, Glasgow and his wonderful team who provided tremendous support.
  • Jenny Fraser , at the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow for hosting the  'Film Vert' in the evening. 
  • Laura Kissel the Director of Cotton Road who allowed us to host a free screening of the movie.

DRESS UP/DOWNload @ Designers Block

Following on from some pilot sessions at the V&A Museum, I was invited to design and deliver some workshops at DESIGNERS BLOCK, during London Design Festival from the textile collective Puff and Flock. This afternoon session invited participants to create fashion illustrations using some templates and collage techniques. This way of working has been really fun and interactive and I am going to use the feedback collected to expand on the design tools and techniques. Therefore several workshop packages will be available soon enabling participants to co-create a print design for a dress.

In the meantime, there will be a big finale to the demo workshops and I will post more information soon. If you are interested in participating either online or coming along to future workshops - please get in touch.

London Design Festival: Puff & Flock Workshops

Image Credit: The V&A, Friday Late, August 2011

London-based textile lab Puff & Flock concocted a series of exciting workshops for this years London Design Festival. Held at the fantastic Farmiloe building in Clerkenwel this years' Designers Block venue from 22nd to 25th of September, the workshops will be led by cutting-edge designers including the Something Lab or the recent formed Postextiles collective. Discover the whole programme and further details on Puff & Flock's blog. I am also so excited to be working with this collective to present a short workshop to demo my new project titled: 

DRESS UP/DOWNload

This is an open source fashion project that encourages and supports co-design. I recently ran this demo during a series of sessions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (pics below) Please come along and say hello. All of the design concepts generated during the workshops will be uploaded here for a crowd-sourcing experiment. So watch this space!

Visit the Puff & Flock website for further info/details.

The V&A Friday Night Late Summer Camp August 2011

Last month, I designed and delivered a new design concept at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London within their friday night late summer design camp programme.

My project is titled: DRESS UP/DOWNload an open source fashion concept which invited participants to produce print design concepts for a basic garment template. The sessions were only 20mins therefore it was a very short and sweet approach but I was surprised at how well people engaged with the concept and we produced over 200 garment designs collectively over two days.

There were lots of other activities on the menu from Guerilla Gardening to Speed drawing and there was even a secret swimming pool! Check out further information here via the V&A website. The next addition to their friday night late summer camp series themed MAKE will be at the end of September.

Openwear - Refashioning Fashion Conference

Openwear is a collaborative clothing project exploring new and alternative models for fashion that promote open design and peer to peer production. Through collective action, shared practice and an online community this new initiative provides a platform for designers to come together.

Several weeks ago, I attended a conference hosted by Openwear titled: Refashioning Fashion, new scenarios of clothing. I presented my PhD research and was lucky enough to meet and listen to a series of talks exploring: open source business models, designing participatory interactions, re-thinking craftsmanship through new tools, methods, process and sustainability through social, economic and environmental perspectives.

Above is some work produced during five days of intensive workshops used to design their first collective collection and series of look maps to enable and invite anyone to download the "how-to" from their platform in an open source formate.

I found this conference to be both insightful and inspirational. I could relate to their work through my own practice and it was a great opportunity to see the multitude of ways that co-design could be applied to fashion and diffused online. The struggle between traditional models and this new way of working is always contested through economic arguments - how can a professional designer sustain an income and maintain their specialised skills if they are constantly revealing how they make what the produce new work?? This conference covered business and economics from an interdisciplinary team of experts who offered a counter argument.

The conference concluded with the statement "you are what you share" a nice tag line and mini manifesto for collective action. The collective collection is available for download and if your interested in joining the discussion sign up to their online community.

My presentation Co-Everything Part 2 is available for download / to view online.