Aalto University has published an excellent book, edited by Kirsi Niinimäki, titled Sustainable Fashion: New Approaches. Where there were really no books before 2008, there are now many, some of great value, others of less. I’ve so far read two chapters and glanced through all of them, and I think this book adds value to the conversations, through precisely focused and thoroughly researched chapters. The absolute best thing about this book? You can download it for free! Click on the box that says ‘Lataa ilmaiseksi’. Thank you to Aalto University and Niinimäki for making it freely available; I know it makes a huge difference to students around the world.
Challenging anthropocentrism in the design of sustainable futures
Konstfack – University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Stockholm, Sweden
Sunday 7 – Wednesday 10 June 2015
Call for Submissions
Design hinges a natural-artificial continuum through humans’ natural capacity to produce what we call ‘the artificial’. At a time when human activity is threatening biodiversity and causing severe climate change, it becomes obvious that natural and artificial systems can no longer be conceived in isolation but only in relation to each other – or indeed as one. The coupling of natural and artificial systems poses challenges due to its complexity and partly reveals the anthropocentrism that has traditionally characterised design. Several questions arise in this context. How can design practices embrace pluralism by recognising, in the manifestation of design itself, biological as well as cultural diversity? In other words, how do we in design, and beyond, move from the kind of ego-system we seem to be so trapped in towards the kind of eco-system everyone and everything can gain from? How are designers, educators and researchers of design currently engaging with these challenges, and how might or should they engage with them in the near future? Designers in Scandinavia have shaped and influenced many local human societies to an important extent through a legacy of democratic and user-centred values. How can these be extended to acknowledge and celebrate humans’ cohabitation on a global scale to also include the myriad of all other existing species and systems at alternative scales in time asnd space? How can the various design practices be genuinely sensitive to ecological complexity? And how can they be understood, designed and studied in relation to each other – or indeed as a whole? Addressing these issues and many others, the Design Ecologies conference includes the following tracks:
Design and Approaches for Sustainability
Design for Sustainability as we know it and as we might imagine it. This track is for both case studies we can learn from and more speculative alternative approaches. We especially invite submissions that scrutinize the tensions, and possible bridging, between: (i) radical and more incremental solutions, (ii) local and more global approaches and (iii) a non-anthropocentric versus a more anthropocentric design approach.
Design as a Political Agent
Critical or Discursive Design as we know it and as we might imagine it. We especially encourage submissions that scrutinize the tensions, and possible bridging, between approaches that nurture a more critical versus a more constructive discourse.
Design and Sustainable Businesses
Business- and management-driven design as we know it and as we might imagine it. We especially invite submissions that address the tensions, and possible bridging, between designing for (and running a business in) a growth versus a non- or post-growth economy.
Design and Sustainable Technologies
Technology-driven design as we know it and as we might imagine it. We especially invite submissions that address the tensions, and possible bridging, between designing for a specified technology versus facilitating the design of plausible technologies for a specified goal.
Design and its Educations
Sustainability in design educations as we know it and as we might imagine it. How can design education support students to become critical and creative in the light of the challenges that un/sustainability poses? We invite submissions that engage in visionary pedagogical approaches at all levels and especially those exploring the tension between ego- versus eco-awareness and the possibilities of bridging perspectives from both the ‘Global North’ and ‘South’.
Design and its Wild Cards
What kind of hidden cards does design carry up its sleeve? This track is for all the papers that do not fit easily into the other themes. So don’t worry; we have a place for you that is more comfortable than rejection even if it might be not a perfect fit. While having very open criteria, we especially invite submissions that tackle failures, tensions and complexities with a critical and provocative but also a constructive view. To conclude, this additional track is for papers that are uncomfortable but worthy.In order to develop the theme of Design Ecologies we invite a variety of disciplines to make contributions: full papers, exploratory papers, workshops, exhibitions and a doctoral consortium. Whilst being primarily underpinned by a core of established design and design research, NORDES also welcomes all new design voices – including perspectives ranging from the humanities to physics, from ethnography to art, from engineering to marketing. Papers may cover experimental and exploratory research approaches to design and the production of knowledge. Papers may also be based on historical, biological, geographical or philosophical studies that make qualified contributions to the field in terms of insights, concepts and ideas. Submissions are subject to an anonymous peer review process. Accepted contributions will be published electronically on the conference website prior to the conference and in the conference proceedings.
All submissions should be in English. All submissions are subject to a double-blind peer review by at least two reviewers. Accepted contributions should be revised according to the review reports and the language should be checked by a native English speaker.
Full papers must be of the highest international standard and contribute significantly to research and practice within design. Nordes 2015 aims to be a multidisciplinary forum for emerging and current research areas that influence the various design disciplines. Full papers should be a maximum of ten pages including illustrations, figures and references. Papers will undergo double-blind peer reviews and accepted papers will be presented in the conference programme and published in the conference proceedings. The proceedings will be available as an open-access online database during and after the conference.
We invite the submission of exploratory papers that include design cases, position papers, work in progress, and emerging new research areas that may as yet lack solid theoretical foundations but point towards exciting new directions for design research. Exploratory papers should be a maximum of four pages including illustrations and references. Exploratory papers will undergo double-blind peer reviews and accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. The proceedings will be made available as an open-access online database during and after the conference.
Workshops will enjoy a central position at Nordes 2015. The ambition is to create common experiences and to provide a variety of platforms for exchanging new ideas. A workshop proposal should be a maximum of two pages and state its purpose, a tentative programme for the day (or half a day), how attendees are accepted for participating in the workshop (e.g. through artefacts or position papers or just by signing up), and the requirements for the physical setting and materials.
Through the Nordes 2015 exhibition we wish to explore ways in which the display of works of art, craft and design can become a prominent venue for exchanging ideas and understanding. Artists, designers and researchers will be able to present their work to the conference attendees in dedicated exhibition sessions. We invite submissions of artefacts, installations and performances documented via pictures, videos or links to websites. A two-page paper explaining how the exhibition artefact relates to the conference’s overall theme of experimentation should accompany each submission. Papers and visual documentation will be included in the conference proceedings and made available through an open-access online database during and after the conference.
The doctoral consortium is an opportunity for doctoral students to receive feedback on their projects from some of the prominent researchers and fellow doctoral students within the field of design research. It is also an excellent chance to get to know others in the same situation or to meet again after last year’s NORDES summer school. The doctoral consortium will take place immediately before the formal opening of the conference. Participants will be chosen based on the quality of their submissions. Submissions should be a maximum of four pages and can be published in the proceedings if the doctoral student wishes it. The proceedings will be made available as an open-access online database during and after the conference.
7 – 10 June, 2015: Conference (Sunday – Wednesday)
1 December, 2014: Submission system opens
7 January, 2015: Submission deadline
20 March, 2015: Author notification
20 April, 2015: Submission of final versions
We hope many of you will consider the NORDES conference
as a venue for your work and research.
Mathilda Tham (Linnaeus University, Goldsmiths)
Håkan Edeholt (Oslo School of Architecture and Design)
Martin Ávila (Konstfack),
and Bo Westerlund (Konstfack)
Tomorrow evening Mariposa, an exhibition of jewellery by George Plionis, opens at Fitzgerald Jewelry in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. If you’re around, please come along! I am biased in that George is my husband; nonetheless, the work is exquisite. The exhibition is open until August 29th so please check it out if in NYC over the summer. Above is our collaboration, a cardigan I based on the ones I made for the Fashion Art Biennale in Seoul two years ago. The hook and eye is a twig with resting butterflies in sterling silver; I already sense a new whimsy in my own work moving forward, due to this project.
Mariposa has collaboration at its heart. Mariano Garcia and Ellen Schiavone Pande-Rolfsen of iloveshoot have been essential to the process, by seeing and presenting the work in contexts that might not have been obvious to George. Similarly, Zoë Sadokierski has brought yet another dimension to the body of work through her work on the catalogue; these arrived a few days ago and they are beautiful. Andrew Cornell Robinson’s ceramics are integral to what is perhaps my favourite piece in the exhibition.
Where: Fitzgerald Jewelry, 174 North 11th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211.
When: opening reception: Friday June 20th, 6-9pm.
Hours: Mon 11-6pm • Tue 11-9pm • Wed 11-6pm • Thurs 11-6pm • Fri 11-6pm • Saturday 11-6pm • Sunday from 12 to 5pm
For appointment : 718 387 6200 or e-mail email@example.com
For the past 18 months I’ve been a contributing writer to Textile Toolbox. My third and final post is now up, on fashion design, time and waste. Textile Toolbox is TED’s web platform project with MISTRA in Sweden, aimed at creating systemic change within the fashion industry through ‘interconnected design thinking and processes for sustainable textiles and fashion’. Textile Toolbox brings together an amazing array of researchers across a range of topics relating to fashion and textile sustainability.
In the project I was invited to engage in conversations about fashion and waste with Alabama Chanin and more recently also with Restructional Clothing. My first post discussed fabric waste, and the second focused on the systems within which wastes are created. The last post brings time into the conversation. My thanks to everyone at TED, Alabama Chanin and Restructional Clothing for the conversations!
The Craft of Use event, concluding the latest phase of the Local Wisdom project, in which Parsons participated under my lead, took place at the Center for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, in March. Kate Fletcher and Katelyn Toth-Fejel have done a tremendous job in creating a record of the day, available here. The day left me with an unwavering sense that change is already here, though I don’t expect to run out of work before I reach retirement age. To quote Lynda Grose, we must continue to lock arms.
UPDATE: The Monokini 2.0 Kickstarter campaign is now live!
Last October was insane for me. As the month began I was in Sydney for my graduation and to kick-start a book project. In the middle of it I was in New Orleans working with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition on the Higg Index within fashion education. October finished for me in Oslo, as I was one of the speakers at Design Colloquium: Fashion North at the Oslo National Academy Of The Arts. At the same time Boutique opened in Washington D.C. – thank you Salla Salin for covering me – and my small part in Monokini 2.0 happened at lightning speed somewhere in the middle. I’d like to thank all of my fall 2013 students for your generosity and patience with me.
Monokini 2.0 is a social art project that re-examines popular culture’s narrow view of a woman’s ideal appearance. It is a project by Vilma Metteri and Katriina Haikala, the art duo known as Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts. In the project they strive to expand what is accepted and considered beautiful by designing a swimwear collection for women who have gone through breast cancer. Swimwear is conventionally designed for women who haven’t suffered a mastectomy. The fact is that many women who have had one breast removed due to breast cancer don’t wish to have breast reconstruction surgery. Instead, they wish to continue their lives with one or no breasts at all. The original idea is by Elina Halttunen, PhD, the woman with one tit.
The Nutty Tarts invited a group of Finnish fashion designers to design a swimsuit each. Each suit was designed for a volunteer model, found through social media. This is where it got exciting for me. My amazing model, Camilla, came forward about two weeks before the scheduled photo shoot in Finland. Because of my October schedule, I had days, and in practical terms, hours, to bring the swimsuit into existence. For Katriina and Vilma, extraordinary women with an inspiring commitment, I did exactly that, with no complaint. Camilla told me she loved tulips, so that’s what I went with, echoing the appliqués I used to make for Usvsu over a decade ago. I finished the suit at about 5.30am one morning in a hotel room in New Orleans, and I was at the Fedex office at 7am when it opened. The Tarts got the suit about an hour before the shoot. No sweat.
Monokini 2.0 is currently being exhibited at the Finnish Museum of Photography, until September 7, 2014. If you’re in Helsinki, please go and see it! Watch out the project site or Facebook page for the May 30 crowdfunding announcement, too! I thank Katriina and Vilma for inviting me to be a part of this, and I thank Camilla for trusting someone she’d never met (and we still haven’t) in all of this – you look amazing! Photography is by Pinja Valja, and the rest of the amazing team is here.
In September I have the honour of collaborating with Dr Alexandra Palmer, on the 2014 Vaughan Lecture at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, titled Metamorphosis – Transformations of Fashion. Dr Palmer is the Nora E. Vaughan Fashion Costume Senior Curator and Chair of the Veronika Gervers Research Fellowship in Textiles & Costume at the ROM, and a Co-curator of BIG, the latest exhibit in the Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume. She is cross appointed and teaches in Fine Art History at the University of Toronto, and the Graduate Programme in Art History at York University, and the School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University.
ROM, of course, was the ‘home’ of Dorothy K. Burnham, author of Cut My Cote, which has had an immense impact on my own work. Dr Palmer has influenced me, on the other hand, through her work on haute couture in Canada, and in particular the conventionally ‘invisible’ practices of mending and altering garments that careful study of museum garments reveal. It is therefore very exciting for me to be visiting ROM for this lecture. If you’re in Toronto in September, please come along!
Images from The Cutting Circle, 2011.