This week was about Textiles and Fashion and our learners who made family prints learnt the importance of representation in fabric and design.
The first part of the session looked at traditional clothing from all over the world. As pointed out by an eager learner, we see some of them every day. From the sarees of India to the intricate beadwork of the Massai, our journey around the world introduced many of the learner’s fashions they have previously encountered. However, it also gave the learners a chance to reflect on traditional clothing from their own culture who then shared it with the group.
This was a great sharing experience that gave the learners a wider view on how fashion can represent culture and history. Noticing how the mythical Christmas elves clothing looked very similar to the traditional Sámi, who are among the oldest peoples in Europe, the activity gave the learners a moment to reflect on the commercialism of cultural dress and its appropriation.
The second part of the session was inspired by a recent set of articles that were brought to my attention at the beginning of the year. A change in school uniform design in Ghana allowed traditional fabrics that represented each area to be used instead of the traditional plain shirt and skirt adopted from the continental stream of colonization in Africa at the start of the 20th Century. A small victory for the reclamation of culture in Ghana and a starting point for the learners who began drafting ideas for their own fabric that represents the culture of home to them.
We had some amazing designs from all the learners. With some opting to spend more time at their leisure to finish the work and have it exhibition ready. Families were represented as trees and animals and homes whilst others used colour to represent the many layers of family around them.
I am really enjoying hearing the young people become more confident speaking their minds and questioning views on colonialism and its effects on fashion. The intricate designs representing the communities in which our learners designed were a homage to fashion week’s finest.
Blog post by Sarah