images sourced from http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/
2019 is based on a fictional, futuristic society where life as we currently know it has been completely destroyed. 2019 is a small wearable multi-change collection that is heavily inspired by post-apocalyptic dystopias and stories such as Blade Runner which is the film adaption of ’Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ by Phillip K. Dick. Stories such as these raise many philosophical questions that span further from just character dialogue. For example Blade Runner looks at bleak futurism through film noir. The film represents the world as an over-populated decaying wasteland of scoundrels, decrepit slums, industrialisation, mass consumerism, debt, poverty, sickness and a complete absence of nature. The fortunate have escaped to off world colonies, which is a luxury lifestyle that is constantly offered for sale upon massive billboards and voice-over blimps flying throughout the dying city of Los Angeles. This is a bleak scenario of how the future could look should a global disaster happen. The story touches on what it is to be human – emotions, identity, connections with one another etc. along with environmental and consumerism concerns.
2019 is created upon a similar situation of a dystopian world where every person must fend for themselves, even for the clothes upon their backs. This is a society where squatting is normal and regular access to water and food is extremely difficult to come by. Inspired by the decaying architecture of the over-populated surroundings, the inter-changeable collection brings the concept of scavenging to upcycled fashion in a creative and contemporary manner.
In a world where surviving off very little has become the unexpected norm, possessions become a sign of success. Everyday items that we use as products, appliances or something built within our environmental surrounds will become items of worth. The scavenged garbage that is useable can be re-purposed to create wearable pieces to aid the wearer or protect them from the harsh environment of the new world.
The 2019 collection is formed from multiple upcycled pieces such as rubber foam, air vent tubing (which is formed up of vortex spiral wire and a bonded aluminium to fibreglass and plastic), a car wind shield sun protector visor (metallic foil meets insulated bubbles), coated nylon mesh wire, and laser cut perforated sticker vinyl for window promotions (buses and shop fronts etc.). These items were indeed ‘scavenged’ at both a small price (Reverse Garbage at Marrickville) and free for the taking (council clean up). Both initiatives encourage people to recycle and give to others through the ‘one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure’ motto.
Aim / objective
The aim and objective was to create an outfit that reflected the state of said fictional futuristic world. Where unconventional textures are re-used and re-purposed only because there is very little left to work with that has not already been destroyed. The concept focuses on youth creating and wearing this, so the level of detail and care is very minimal. The surviving youth of 2019 have only ever known fast fashion and mass consumerism, which is why Velcro has been used as an easy attachment/detachment mechanism to alternate the designed halves.
Methods / materials
Producing the outfit began with the pants first. I was excited to experiment with the foil, as I have been inspired by a recent trend amongst the fashion design community when it comes to using metallic foils and upcycling. The pants pattern was downloaded from Burdastyle and was altered several times after creating a calico toile. The pattern just perfectly fit on the foil with very minimal wastage. The foil was exceptionally easy to sew, and I quite enjoyed the process. Sadly the foil, once punctured, continues to split. So that was a challenge to find a way to add a drawstring feature without tearing. From a simple hole to an eyelet, the foil just tore, and it was not worth the risk of splitting more at the drawstring casing. So, after much consideration, tape was applied to the splits. This quick, yet poor method of tending to a tear within the pants is a reflection of a possible reaction that would probably be made by the fictional end user - unskilled youth.
The next item made was the simple mesh t-shirt half which was sewn together with an edging ribbon to catch the stitches. This was a basic pattern inspired by a box crop top I already owned. The simplicity of this design half is a personal favourite because of the minimal grid-like nature of the mesh. The mesh was sourced from Reverse Garbage. Following, I began working on the jacket, which is my favourite silhouette due to the detail that makes up the arm. Some light faults with the jacket include that I could not machine stitch all the way up due to the thickness of the foam, so I had to hand-tack some points along with the help of a sharp thick needle and a pair of pliers. The front placket was also a slight hassle as foam doesn’t take to adhesive too well, and even more so on a short bend. I had to fix at least 40-50 pins along the front and back placket to hold down both the Tarzan and super glue over a two-day period.
The car windshield visor design was created simply by taping shapes together to form 3-dimensional panels. This was a simple and fun process because the strength of the insulation made it easy to tape one piece to another. The visor was found in my street ready for council clean up, and I knew that the texture would be fantastic. The final designed half was created with a sticker vinyl used for advertisements on windows – particularly buses. The perforated laser cut dots create a fantastic texture and when peeled from the paper backing, can be stuck onto itself to create many more possible silhouettes and outcomes. Unfortunately due to time constraints with major project looming over me, I had to create this piece fast and with little regard for fit. I acknowledge that a dart in the back could have served the shape better.
images by Melissa Barrass SONY Nex5N
In the chance that an apocalypse of some form does present itself in the future, design issues will un-intentionally become part of day-to-day life for all. For example, as design is in large parts “problem solving”, in world affected by food shortage, lack of wearable protection and shelter, a level of care, caution and attention to materials and their properties may well be the difference between continued life and death. The concept of upcycling (re-using waste material for a different purpose) will undoubtedly become the survival model for a world that has been obliterated and is living on very, very little.
The Cradle-to-Cradle theory is an essential educational resource for anyone interested in upcycling and sustainability. It is a fantastic reference point for designers who want to make a positive impact on the environment and to encourage re-use with materials that already exist on the planet that are at a high level of disposal due to becoming obsolete. The brains behind this theory, McDonough and Braungart, have successfully explained the current need to change our ‘cradle-to-grave’ society through their ideas of designing to ensure continual reuse of everyday products. The chapter ‘Waste Equals Food’ begins with the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ ideology used by ancient civilisations pre-industrial age, when nothing was wasted, instead reused to benefit the individual and group. The underlying message in Cradle to Cradle is that to eliminate waste, we must acknowledge that products have the potential to be designed to last for generations, to be reused in various manners or by people with differing needs.
With our planet currently facing over-consumption and over-population, we are disposing of larger amounts of waste every year without considering the properties of the products before we throw away. 2019, explores other ways of using materials in the need for clothing the body. With the consideration of diversifying material, 2019 is a contemporary mini collection that holds a strong message of sustainability and preaches the value of everyday items and the properties that those items possess.
images by Melissa Barrass & Meg Ryan SONY Nex5N
McDonough, W, Braungart, M. (2002). ‘Waste Equals Food’. Cradle to Cradle.
North Point Press, New York.