Relearning roles: designer, producer and consumer

Even though there is a vast amount of information concerning the negative environmental and social impact that the overproduction of fashion contributes to, the industry still manages to attract and make more people into consumers as they are playing on the human need and desire for renewal.

Every act of consumption requires a degree of participation and this participation could perhaps be used as a force for change of the way fashion is created, used and shared. This to possibly cultivate a delay in the way consumption is made. Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Do-It-Together (DIT), open design, participatory design, co-design, redesign, customisation and the emerging maker culture are all approaches challenging relationships between the designer, producer and the consumer as the user is more active in the making process. In the long run this creative activity could replace the need to consume products with the speed it is done today. 

These scenarios do however demand a change in attitudes and mindset amongst all involved in order to find ways to imagine new ways to enjoy fashion with new skills, mindsets and systems.The different kinds of users and makers of fashion thus need to relearn new skills – or recall skills that used to be inherited from person to person. The Life of a Dress installation proposes a space for this, a place to experiment a learn from one another. Not with the intention that everyone should become designer but with the belief that everyone has to share and that could contribute to improving our common bigger picture. 

Making Together

In the light of the wasteful world of fast fashion this project aims to investigate how making together in a group can contribute to positive growth on a personal as well as on a more global level. Through The Life of a Dress’s different projects we are exploring possible ways to use, improve and reconfigure the current system of fashion through reclaiming what the system itself is creating and wasting. It is a further aim to observe and induce aspects of developing, influencing and reconstructing sustainable patterns of consumption and production. The project explores models for fashion remanufacturing and creates opportunities for further development for people of different generations and nationalities in this exercise in reappropriating second-hand materials.

The Life of a Dress has since 2009 visited several countries in different continents, with widely different cultures. Through our flexible structure and a framework with plenty of space for the local community we visit, we share our content whilst learning from local projects and people about ways of how to rethink the use of materials.

Materials- From In to Out of Fashion

An estimation of more than 30 million tons of textile waste are created worldwide every year. Clothing and textile waste has been estimated to be the fastest growing field of waste. Used clothing accounts for approximately 350,000 tonnes of landfilled textiles with a value estimated at £140 million. The remains of garments that are not passed from person to person are being recollected through larger recollecting schemes. An estimation of about 10-30% of these collected garments will be sorted and re-sold in local thrift store and charity shops.The international trade of second-hand clothing has during the past years quickly increased due to rapid circulation of garments as well as an increased value of them. 

We are exploring how second-hand dresses and garments donated or found in local markets and streets may be used as assets for further transformation. Craft workshops and prototyping labs are created around the collected materials and people are invited to join in. During these workshops participants are encouraged to challenge current structures and ways of thinking around materials and making.