Community Repair Exhibition
May 25, 2011 by Hatty
By Danielle Sponder Testa
This last term at LCF the MA Fashion and the Environment class worked with Otto von Busch on a project called ‘Community Repair: Strategic Social Skill Mobilization for Sustainable Fashion.’ This unique and challenging project was centered around the impact garment repair can have on a community. Each of the 14 students in the class sought out unique participants from our neighborhoods to help us repair a garment that we had worn and loved. Originally scared an unsure of the challenge to meet new people and engage them in an activity they may have never thought to do themselves, we were all surprised by the engaging attitudes of our community members. From lawyers, hat makers, and shoe makers to passengers on a Eurostar train, every participant had their own story and own reason for taking part in this project. In the end we were asked what impact this repair has had on our emotional attachment to the garment, but realized it also had a deep impact on the emotional attachment to our communities and ourselves. Many of us discovered people and places right near our homes that we never would have taken a second look at had this project not challenged us to explore our surroundings.
Personally, I was in awe of the varied outcomes and, along with others in my class, believed this project was worth sharing. Having a relationship with the course and LCF, Jules Hau and Greg Shaw of Foundation Agency generously offered their showroom space to use for an exhibit. We then got to work on organizing a pop-up gallery to further welcome the London community into this project. We worked within our Fashion and the Environment Community to put together advertising, press releases, displays, personal summaries, a video projection, food, drinks and easily accessible excerpts from Otto’s work to come together in a one-of-a-kind exhibition that we shared with the public this past weekend.
On Saturday 14 May we had a Private View for LCF faculty, industry professionals, and of course family and friends. The night was filled with music, drinks, food, and a brief speech from Dilys Williams and Otto von Busch discussing the project, its impact and significance. It was a well received exhibit that we would love to continue sharing. The gallery may not be available any more, but publications still are! Feel free to contact us to receive the magazine that contains personal accounts of the experience from the MA students as well as theory and research by Otto Von Busch. If you made it to the exhibit we hope you enjoyed it!