These are the fashion designers of the (near) future! They may not be whom you would expect!
I believe that the fashion designers of the future, are bioengineers! Please don't get mad at me just yet. I will shed a light on this vision in this blogpost.
Image: courtesy of Unsplash
The fact of the matter is, that the fashion system today is long due for drastic change. Call it a paradigm shift if you will, a challenge of the status quo, or just a flipped script. One of my favourite words from Ancient Greek philosophy is the construct "ethics". It is the controlled meaning of this very term, that is out of control within the realm of the fashion industry. Based on my insights, ethics refers to the mutually inclusivity of the respectful and dignified treatment of the Planet and the People who produce our clothes (and what not). One can not be without the other. As an example, a dress made from a synthetic chemical textile, assembled by a garment worker who is paid a living wage and loves her job, is only one half of the meaning of Ethical fashion. The same goes for the situation vice versa: making a dress from organic cotton by a garment worker whose Human Rights are violated.
As someone who is just a nerd pur sang, I love learning about different perspectives, obtained through different academic disciplines. Hey, I warned you I'm a nerd. Take the example of a biologist who applies their knowledge through engineering: a bio-engineer. Their world view is generally completely different from that of someone who is a fashion designer. But what if the two would come together............(long pause for dramatic effect).
See, if we want to have a sustainable ecosystem, we need to build and nurture one. What other branch of Science than Biology could be the starting point for this?
Image: courtesy of Unsplash
Let's start with the origin of biology. The word itself comes from the Greek words bios (life) and logos (study); ergo, it refers to the study of life. In general, a biologist studies the origin, function, growth, structure and evolution of living organisms. (Please correct me if I'm overlooking something here - it's a very broad field). It is because of biology that we can understand why and how we evolve from a cell to a baby to a child to a teenager (enter brain chemistry causing an emotional rollercoaster) to adolescence and adulthood. Human beings are not the only living organisms on the planet. What about plants?
Ever since I started this journey on a quest to discover how Aesthetics meet Ethics, one thing has been very clear: circular fashion, is only that if the entire product is 100% compostable. When I shared this thought with top professionals I met at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, believe me, eyebrows raised up close to the ceiling! I take great joy in these conversations, as they drive me to innovate. I like to believe I'm some kind of a rebel, but with a cause. It's about time to truly move the needle forward. To do this, we must invite Scientists to guide the non-scientists. Otherwise, we could have a situation where the blind are leading the blind. Not a too comforting situation that would be.
As I wrote in my feature for MESS MAGAZINE: You 'just' produce, you 'just' lose. Fashion design should be perceived as a science on its own where design and bio-engineering are in perfect harmony. Therefore, my tip for fashion designers: start the conversation with a biologist. And my tip for bio-engineers? You've guessed it....!