Welcome to World 54, where the production of new textiles has been severely restricted, leading to the development of a resourceful yet opulent fashion culture.
In this world people dress using sheets of cloth combined with cardigans for warmth, held together through a mix of straps and buttons. Chance objects are used as a form of oversized jewellery to give the outfits a distinct flair.
Dressing in this culture requires time, effort and creativity. Trends typically focus on the way fabric is arranged and the careful selection of colour and decoration. And if you get bored with the limited selection, an intensive swapping culture in this world means you can bargain for something new and novel.
This is one of the concepts created as part of the creative research project Fashion Fictions run by Dr. Amy Twigger Holroyd, Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability at Nottingham Trent University.
So how does this world-building work? The fictions, or Worlds, are framed as parallel presents guided by loose parameters with sustainable fashion at their core. The project evolves around sustainable cultures and systems, practices of use (rather than production and conventional consumption) and exploration of social and cultural factors, rather than technological change.
Participants in Fashion Fictions include people with experience of fashion cultures gained through wearing and enjoying clothes (yes, that could mean you!), along with those with specialist expertise in fashion theory and history and design and fashion and textile practice.
At Atlas we are diving into four of these worlds, and this week we feature the playful World 54, where swapping and ingenuity thrive. Atlas commissioned filmmaker Reece Straw to document and interpret the workshop run by Amy, where participants lived for a day in this alternative fashion world.
Their challenge was to dress using the surplus textiles lying in cupboard and attics. Was it possible to make appealing clothes out of a sheet of cloth? Did it make them feel differently about fashion?
Find out how this workshop altered their thoughts about fashion and trends and take a look at their inventive creations. You might even find yourself inspired to pull out the sheets and give this world a go!
►► Check out The Penny Buns comic, the first creative interpretation of the Fashion Fictions project.
►► There is more to come in this series on sustainable fashion, like what would it be like if there were no images of clothes and instead, we had to make purchases based only on text description? Keep an eye out for more creative interpretations of the Fashion Fictions worlds.
The World 54 enactment was devised by Dr. Amy Twigger Holroyd, building on a prototype by Gillian Allsopp, Kate Harper, Johnny O’Flynn and a fourth Fashion Fictions contributor, and on the original fiction by Wendy Ward.