Challenges

The Fashion Designer is a Fashion Wearer

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"We are, with others in society, witnesses to and participants in the consumption of cultural artifacts and, therefore, share in the moments of seduction and repulsion that these artifacts generate.” (Andrew Blauvet, 1994) 

I just would like to share an exercise I recently started doing with new students, for which I had nice outcomes and feedback. So, inspired by a research method called “Love Letter, Break up Letter”, I request students to:

  • on one page, write down the last garment they bought, and when;
  • on another page, write down the last garment they discarded, and when;
  • on the first page, write a love letter to the recently acquired garment, and on the second page, write a break up letter to the disposed item.

Afterwards, all letters are pinned on the wall and everyone can read each others letters. Students understand, beyond fashion trends and speeds, what makes someone buy a garment, or what it takes for that relationship to end (fit, comfort, colours, quality…). They understand how, besides future fashion “makers”, they are also fashion wearers, and shouldn’t completely detach from that side when designing, so that they don’t forget what makes garments last. So, as Kate Fletcher points out, there is indeed a difference between designing clothes for sale or designing clothes that people will want to buy and use and keep using.
 

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