This project addresses and identify the flaws of the current fashion industry. It explores new technologies that can be use now or in the future to provide alternative way to design and produce fashion. The project aims at having a positive impact on our society in terms of sustainability, ethical choices and inclusivity. Designing a prototype collection entirely digitally in order to only produce what has been purchased will be the main experiment of the project. This gives the ability to explore the benefits and limitations of this design process. Society pressures us to mould into “one size”, “one colour”, “two genders” but what if we were not supposed to fit any box? Instead of feeling like we belong nowhere outside of the binary, we could simply truly be ourselves, Right here, right now? What if Nowhere suddenly becomes Now_Here?’ Utopian fantasy is often where people get away from the pressure of society. As perception is unique to each individual, the outfits are the result of travelling through worlds that reference different aspects of reality. The garments and shoes exist in the digital realm, free to travel any world, to encourage the expression of uniqueness. The collection is inspired by five imaginary places. These five worlds are infused in the garments as a reminder to keep an open mind to things that may differ from our own beliefs and reality. We all come to earth the same way but grow our identity differently. We are all different but at the same time, all connected. What seems to come out of Nowhere could be happening Now_Here.
As most of the work produced for this project is 3D digital or moving images the 2D and 3D outcomes can be visualised at romainpotier.com/nowhere
We are living in critical times where sustainability has become a matter of urgency. The fashion industry is awakening to slowly change their practices and adapt to the shift in consumer behaviours towards more ethical and conscious choices.
However, the main option that the fashion industry offers follows is the same business model since the beginning of modern slavery.
Despite promoting change, the companies’ business structure remains the same. This means that to still appeal to the consumers who are concerned about environmental and ethical impacts of fashion, the fashion businesses are making just small changes. For example, some high street brands (Independent, 2020) now offer ‘ethical lines’ or ‘sustainable collections’ amongst their usual products. Discarding and disposing unsold garments to make space for the new coming collection remains a huge problem.
This system is creating more waste every year ‘the clothing industry is responsible for about 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than aviation and shipping combined, according to the UN’ (Independent, 2019). and sticking to a business model that creates more harm than good needs to be challenged. This system is based on capitalism whose main objective is to accumulate wealth, to do so garments and object of clothing have been transformed into something that we use, we consume, for a short period of time. As major retailers are manufacturing their products in countries where the cost of production is extremely low, they can offer cheap retail prices to consumers. We now ‘consume’ fashion and clothes the same way that we do for food. Our relationship to fashion has shifted towards consumerism. As mentioned in the documentary The True Cost, we value more the act of buying than the items we buy. We have more interest in quantity over quality. (The True Cost 2015).
Moreover as clothing became an object of consumption the garments are designed to fit a majority of people, leaving aside people who do not fit the norm.
By normalising everything and separating them into two simple categories ‘menswear’ and ‘womenswear’ it is fair to say that it restricts the consumer in their ability to choose what they want to wear, not only to express their identity but also in terms of fit. How many times have we tried on something that is supposed to be our size but actually does not fit? What about shoes that you may want to wear because of the design and shape but it has not been you’re your size because it is not the norm?
“A lot of people in western culture feel like they do not belong here, like they are unable to fit in the system. How many times does it occur that they are not the right size when trying on garments in a retail shop? How many times do they try to change themselves to fit better other people’s expectations? Losing or putting on weight, dressing more ‘accordingly’, ‘behaving like a man or a woman’.
But what if we were not supposed to fit any box? What if instead of feeling like we belong nowhere outside of the binary, we could simply truly be ourselves? Right here, right now?
What if Nowhere suddenly becomes Now-Here?” (Potier R. 2019)
To understand the reason behind the limited offer of fit, sizes and shapes, it is important to highlight the economic system that dominates the world. This system is capitalism, the unique aim of capitalism is to generate profits and increase these profits continuously. In order to be able to accumulate more wealth over the years, corporations (in the context of this project, fashion brands) need to cut down costs and reduce non profitable items.
This explains why there are only so few options for people who are outside the norm. People who are too slim or too big and people with a physical disability, or people who simply do not identify with the systemic binary are not considered as they are a minority of the population and therefore not profitable.
Similarly, for reasons of profit, businesses prefer to outsource the manufacture of fashion items in developing countries. In that way they are not held accountable for the welfare or conditions of workers there. Nor do they take responsibility for the continuous disasters that are happening in the factories. An example of these disasters are the infamous events of the Rana Plaza where hundreds lost their life under a collapsed manufacturing building.
It may seem as though the issues are far removed from us, in different countries, but the consumer has the power to stop the capitalist machine. If the ‘demand’ slows down because people stop buying continuously, the businesses will stop accumulating wealth and therefore be forced to adapt to new consumer behaviours. A new type of consumer has already been noticed ‘More than one in three people consider social and environmental impacts when buying clothes.’ (Fashion Revolution, 2018)
The problem may appear to some people that it’s happening far away from them, in the in the middle of ‘Nowhere’ but it’s actually happening right now, right here!
Line Up Collaboration with Footwear designer Antonio Arocho Hernandez and Stylist and producer Florian Magras
Filan 3D lineUp
Nowhere LineUp Collage
Initial selected collages
Now_Here Final LinUp
Now_Here Short film
When Nowhere Becomes Now_Here (Short Film)
Nowhere Film Long
When Nowhere Becomes Now_Here film (Full length)
turntable of collection Collaboration with Footwear Designer Antonio Arocho Hernandez
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