MA Fashion Futures Testbed

MA Fashion Futures Testbed

MA Fashion Futures Testbed
Entrance of Lab E20. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.

Amid the ever-evolving tapestry of fashion, politics, and societal transformation, there lies an intersection of hope, creativity, and action. This is not just about the clothes we don, but the narratives they sculpt, the values they reflect, and the revolutions they can ignite.

The MA Fashion Futures course pushes students to critique the nature and purpose of design in a rapidly changing world, and to imagine and envision alternative ways fashion will be created and experienced in the future.

On 23 September 2023, The Lab E20 was abuzz with vibrant energy as the MA Fashion Futures students unveiled their ground-breaking projects. From redefining the second-hand fashion paradigm to pioneering virtual reality experiences, the exhibition was a kaleidoscope of ideas and ingenuity.

Visitors interacting with Iona Beresford’s installation ’Playground’.
Visitors interacting with Iona Beresford’s installation ’Playground’. Image credit: Alexa Pollmann.

Iona Beresford’s project brings together two seemingly contrasting fields – fashion and geology. ‘The Geological Impact of Fashion’ is not just a display, it’s an invitation. Through playful and interactive installations, she prompts us to think: “What happens to our clothes when we’re done with them?” Aligning with this theme of fashion’s environmental footprint was Junjie Li’s ‘Eco-Tech Symbiosis’. Using mixed reality, she endeavoured to emphasize the harmonious coexistence of nature and mankind. Hannah Riley role-played as the character Banana Bloom, an imaginary person that helped to present a unique take on sustainability education in her project ‘Out of this World’.

Vidhi Rambhia worked on raising awareness of the handloom weaving techniques for the younger generation in India. Pranati Pareek took centre stage with her exploration of Indian crafts, envisioning a union between traditional craft and modern technology. Using virtual reality, Mettilda Thomas offered a fresh perspective on engaging with colonial items, especially Indian textiles and fashion-related artefacts housed in British Museums, through her initiative titled ‘Museum of the Restored.’

Visitor looking at the display of ‘Out of this world’.
Visitor looking at the display of ‘Out of this world’. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.

In her project ‘What’s it Worth?’, Gemma Metheringham probed the capability of the second-hand market to potentially surpass sales of new garments, suggesting a shift towards a degrowth in the fashion industry. Meanwhile, through Jacqueline Gayon’s documentary glimpses, we journeyed into the heart of Buenos Aires’ vibrant garment repair community.

Nikol Penova mesmerized attendees with a unique performance that interpreted ‘Pre-Menstrual Stress Through Knit’. Saumya, from a cozy nook, led workshops focusing on foot-specific macramé, emphasizing the deep bond between our bodies and the paths they walk. Ellie Cordwell’s ‘Gathering Thanks’ invited introspection about our clothing and its origins. Pushing the dialogue on health further, Tejaswini Sood’s ‘The New Epidemic’ tackled the rising issue of loneliness while exploring the intricate relationship between fashion, artificial intelligence, and our shared humanity.

Saumya assisting a person with macrame for the feet.
Saumya assisting a person with macrame for the feet. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.
Visitor interacting with Kayleigh Parkes project.
Visitor interacting with Kayleigh Parkes project. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.
Lilia Wodraschka (performer) performing for the audience.
Lilia Wodraschka (performer) performing for the audience. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.

For many among us, showcasing our work to the public proved to be a game-changer. This platform to share our concepts, and in return, gain authentic feedback, immensely propelled our projects forward. It endowed us with fresh perspectives and insights that might have eluded us in a solitary academic environment. Echoing this sentiment, Kayleigh remarked, “Opening the event to both the public and industry experts was priceless. It wasn’t just about witnessing the projects in real-time but also understanding the audience’s perception of these evolving pieces.”

Display of Pranati Pareek’s project ‘Craft-Tech’.
Display of Pranati Pareek’s project ‘Craft-Tech’. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.

Ellie Cordwell noted, “Engaging with a diverse audience let me test my ideas, offering insights and perspectives I might not have otherwise encountered.”

The chance to display and validate our creations gave us invaluable feedback at a crucial juncture. This input was instrumental in refining our projects and directing their future trajectory.

Students discussing their projects.
Students discussing their projects. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.
Gemma Metheringham discussing her project with a visitor.
Gemma Metheringham discussing her project with a visitor. Image Credit: Alexa Pollmann.

The event fostered rich dialogues and exchanges between attendees, shedding light on the nuances of our research. It underscored the essence of effectively presenting and articulating our findings.

Fashion isn’t merely about attire. It mirrors societal norms, values, and our visions for the future. We invite you to join this pivotal discourse.

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