The big question for my collection was this
How do we use fashion to enable people to express themselves as global citizens?
This question I think was described on particularly memorable occasion (which I won't share on the internet) as lofty and perhaps overly ambitious. Which as it turned out may have been a good point, as the question is very hard to get a handle on. Asking it generates far more questions than answers...
"what does it mean to be a global citizen?"
"what roles does fashion have in global citizenship?"
"Do people need enabling, in order to express themselves as global citizens?"
I did over the course of my research come up with some pretty good answers to these questions. As well as some new ideas on the subject of sustainable living, or perhaps if we are honest, a new twist on old ideas, maybe. Better packaging for the same concept, if you will.
So then what are some of the answers to these questions?
Well "What does it mean to be a global citizen?" can be answered in two parts, first, it means engaging with the world in an inclusive, compassionate way and second, it is the need for sustainability. So what does 'inclusive compassionate engagement look like? Well, in a word, kindness. That sentence "the need for inclusive, compassionate engagement" haunted my work, it made it twisted and complex and hard to get meaningful information from. If you, dear stranger, were writing it I am sure that you would have done the logical thing and dropped all talk of love and kindness, and restricted your work to the strict limits of academic understanding, and you would have done far better than me. The problem was that I could not drop that sentence, because it was the reason I started. It was the idea behind the marble sculptures in the hall of remembrance. In short, it was what I really wanted to say.
If I'm honest, I would tell you that I did not want to just say it, I wanted to scream it! I wanted to yell at strangers in the street, "why can't you like each other!! Why can't you try!" However, I didn't do that, because even if I was right screaming at people rarely proofs to be a solution for anything. So then what of sustainability? How does that add to being a global citizen? The answer to that, lucky, is very simple. The earth is dying, not in some post-apocalyptic future way but in a 'we may in the future not have a place to live' way. So what we owe each other as people on this earth is to ensure in what ways we can we try and find a solution that could save the planet.
So that brings us to the second question, what does fashion have to do with any of this? Well, I'm sure you've heard it said too "fashion is the second biggest pollutant on earth after petroleum", "the average person only wears a garment six times before they throw it out". These are shocking facts, though, I can't find the study they come from and neither can anyone else it seems. These facts themselves are probably not true, or to make them true you'd have to add a lot of caveats (who's the average person?/ where do they live? / whats included in 'the fashion industry'?). Though don't let that fool you into thinking that the problem isn't bad or it's not real, it is. The fashion industry, in as broad or as narrow a way, as you would like to define does contribute to pollution at almost every stage of the production cycle. This the obviously would need to be addressed, the question is how? The answer to that question is a big problem, because there are more possible solutions to real ones, and everyone has an opinion on what works and how effectively. Sustainability is like a high school clique, everybody is just dying to find the fault in what you're doing.
So with that, all said there's just one question left, "do people need help to express themselves as global citizens?" The answer to that is possibly the most complex of all... So maybe I'll write a different post answering it.
That means goodbye for now
lots of love