The brand, launched in 1970 by Japanese-born designer Kenzo Takada, has undergone a complete transformation in the last two years since Opening Ceremony founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim were appointed as the new creative directors in 2011. As Rosanna Falconer, Head of Digital at Matthew Williamson said, this has given a unique opportunity to revive the brand through developing successful collections from a buyer’s perspective.
Dilys was able to bring a unique viewpoint to the discussion, sharing ideas about the relationship between designer, product, and wearer, and the new role of the designer.
“The role of the designer in communicating something that has often been very personal has really changed, and a lot of new designers are really understanding the importance of communicating as part of the creativity… it’s part of the creative process and I think you see that with these guys [Kenzo].”
When asked about the culture of the ‘It’ piece, Dilys observed that “people aim to create an identity to their work which is something that goes beyond just the cut and the make of it, the whole ethos of their brand.”
Dilys perfectly summed up the show when she said “fashion is an intuitive thing, it’s not a mathematical process.”
“They’ve brought together great people working with them and hopefully that’s what will keep it looking fresh all the time.”
You can find out out more about the show and the day here.
Centre for Sustainable Fashion recently hosted the first in a series of events aimed at fashion educators to discuss and raise the profile of design for sustainability in fashion education.
The first event, a debate questioning ‘What is the role of fashion education in our changing world?’ involved key fashion educators and activists engaging in a lively debate to find ways in which we can explore fashion education, to improve student experience and foster sustainability throughout the curriculum.
The panel was chaired by Nina Stevenson – Education & Curriculum Development Manager, CSF and included:
Dilys Williams – Director, CSF
Kate Fletcher – Reader in Sustainable Fashion, CSF
Gemma Robertson – Graduate Recruitment Manager, ASOS
Lesley Raven – Senior Outreach Coordinator, LCF
Frankie Moloney – Students’ Union Vice President for LCF
Dilys opened the discussion by asking, we are almost at the end of the , but has much changed in fashion education?
We should be looking at fashion education as an exploration of self in connection to place, through the practice of fashion, and as a forum for self-contemplative work:
‘Time spent in fashion education can be a precious and vital place for change at a profound level – if it is about education of the person, through practice of fashion that really is relevant to time and place.’ Dilys Williams
‘Universities can be hierarchical in their knowledge structure – they value industrial knowledge above all else, which doesn’t give space for self-contemplative work.’ Kate Fletcher
From a student’s perspective, ‘fashion education is integral to finding like-minded people and creating networks and there is great value in the experience of those teaching.’ Frankie Moloney
Part of this networking value was highlighted in creating university and business dialogue through placements. ‘Working with a broad range of companies gives a strong overview of the industry, and showcases the creativity that can be nurtured in a university context.’ Gemma Robertson of ASOS explained. ‘Networking and attending events ensures you will make an impression and recruiters will remember you’, she continued, highlighting the importance of a genuine understanding of the role and market level being applied for, having recruited approximately 96 graduates in the past six months.
Within a university setting, there is ‘the need to promote collaborative working and creative thinking in education models, to create a community of practice to enable continuous improvement.’ Lesley Raven
‘We need to engage our imaginations in the ingenuity needed to get us beyond the tweaks at the edges that are obviously not making enough of a difference to how we live– fashion gives us an opportunity as it should be a barometer of change relevant to time, people and our natural world, upon which we all revolve.‘ Dilys Williams
The discussion then moved to the audience for insightful comment and probing questions. When asked about allowing space for thought, experimentation and balance within curriculum, Kate responded, ‘most of the world focus is on narrowing peoples perspective on things. Within sustainability it’s almost a progressive broadening you need. The challenge is to get people to become experts in a synthesis where they put things together instead of taking them apart.”
This challenge is being addressed within Centre for Sustainable Fashion through initiatives such as MA Fashion and the Environment at the London College of Fashion, which was that same night awarded the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Award for Educational Innovation. The course was set up five years ago by Dilys Williams as a vital part of the development of the Centre’s work, to engage a multi way flow between the research and consultancy practitioners in the centre and burgeoning creative sustainability led postgraduate students. Susan Postlewaite, now course leader of the programme is currently collating this year’s graduate work for exhibition during London Fashion Week in February 2013.
The evening provided rich and diverse discussion regarding fashion education and set an agenda for future work, which will be continued through the network, for which details will be posted in the new year.
‘We need to encourage people to foster a sense of balance. It’s at the heart of a set of values that are different, and us showing that fashion can be different. Education is for life, not for a moment or for a score card.’ Kate Fletcher
The evening concluded with a final comment from a recent graduate, Alina Moat, ‘the best thing about the MA Fashion & Environment course is that normally courses are designed primarily around the idea of success. This offered the opportunity for failure – meaning showing that you can learn from mistakes and build on them; it’s not just built on society’s idea of success.’
You can track commentary and join in the debate on Twitter by searching #TransformFashion
The nomination is a result of constant and unrelenting dedication and support for sustainable fashion over the years as a designer, people connector, educator and visionary of sustainability principles, which has made a significant contribution to helping put sustainability on the agenda for the industry. Dilys believes that there are myriad ways in which we can engage human ingenuity towards a world in which we can all prosper and thrive.
In recent years Dilys has been instrumental in the setup and development of the Centre and its educational, enterprise and research activities. The Centre was established to provoke, challenge and question the fashion status quo through collaboration, designing transforming solutions that balance ecology, society and culture.
The SOURCE Awards put the spotlight on the most innovative and inspirational businesses, individuals, and initiatives in the fashion industry, globally.
The awards recognise excellence in 12 different categories, from design innovation to brand leadership across women’s, men’s, accessories, and children’s wear, sustainable supply / manufacture, education, retail, and individual contribution.
Final winners will be announced at a reception event on 4th December in London.
We are recruiting for a Course Leader for this groundbreaking course that has produced graduates who evolve new visions for the fashion industry through their work.
This is an opportunity to join our team and to steer the path for the course. We are looking for somebody who can engage the students in new directions underpinned by new approaches to design that shape and respond to real world conditions as they evolve.
Please follow the link to the University’s vacancies page for full details of this position and note that all enquiries relating to this role should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and not to the CSF.
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!
Community Repair: Strategic Skill Mobilisation for Sustainable Fashion
Community Repair is an artistic research project initiated by Otto von Busch with support from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and undertaken by our MA Fashion and the Environment students as part of their Sustainability Solutions Unit.
Throughout the project, students have explored how craft skills among members of their local communities can be mobilised for the repair or adjustment of a garment; and how the compassion for a garment, the crafting of a shared memory and the mending of a social skin can be the needle on which the thread of gifts and exchanges can stitch up a shattered community.
Fashion is a manifestation of the importance of our connections. We use the visual signals of our clothes and style to relate to others and to our evolving world, society and culture.
Strategic Repair explores the idea of reciprocity through the act of making together and connecting within our communities, using an existing starting point of value and developing that value.
Dilys Williams, Director Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Course Director, MA Fashion and the Environment, LCF
The repaired fashion items will feature alongside stunning photographs of the students wearing their garments within their communities in this fantastic exhibition developed and curated by the students.
Fashion is a vehicle of identity in the social play of everyday life. As a commodity the fashion garment and accessory enacts wishes for imitation as well as autonomy and its ephemeral qualities make us continuously re-enact social relations.
As an effort towards sustainability, fashion needs to embrace repair as a designed feature for everyday clothes. If sustainable fashion takes repair seriously, designers might be able to reengage communities in strategic collaborations for repair; using the broken object to mend the social fabric scattered by the status anxiety of fashion.
Otto von Busch
School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg
The work will be showcased:
On: Saturday 14th May – Sunday 15th May 2011
At: Foundation Showroom
49-59 Old Street
Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour programme today and shares her views on the synthetic fibre polyester. Marking 70 years since British chemists patented “polyethylene terephthalate”, the basis of the fibre, the programme examines how polyester has been used in the past and the ways in which it will be used in years to come. Check out the interview on BBC iPlayer
From the web to wildlife, the economy to nanotechnology, politics to sport, the Observer’s team of experts prophesy how the world will change – for good or bad – in the next quarter of a century.
12 Fashion: ‘Technology creates smarter clothes’
Fashion is such an important part of the way in which we communicate our identity to others, and for a very long time it’s meant dress: the textile garments on our body. But in the coming decades, I think there’ll be much more emphasis on other manifestations of fashion and different ways of communicating with each other, different ways of creating a sense of belonging and of making us feel great about ourselves.
We’re already designing our identities online – manipulating imagery to tell a story about ourselves. Instead of meeting in the street or in a bar and having a conversation and looking at what each other is wearing, we’re communicating in some depth through these new channels. With clothing, I think it’s possible that we’ll see a polarisation between items that are very practical and those that are very much about display – and maybe these are not things that you own but that you borrow or share.
Technology is already being used to create clothing that fits better and is smarter; it is able to transmit a degree of information back to you. This is partly driven by customer demand and the desire to know where clothing comes from – so we’ll see tags on garments that tell you where every part of it was made, and some of this, I suspect, will be legislation-driven, too, for similar reasons, particularly as resources become scarcer and it becomes increasingly important to recognise water and carbon footprints.
However, it’s not simply an issue of functionality. Fashion’s gone through a big cycle in the last 25 years – from being something that was treasured and cherished to being something that felt disposable, because of a drop in prices. In fact, we’ve completely changed our relationship towards clothes and there’s a real feeling among designers who I work with that they’re trying to work back into their designs an element of emotional content.
I think there’s definitely a place for technology in creating a dialogue with you through your clothes.
Dilys Williams, designer and the director for sustainable fashion at the London College of Fashion