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Fashion fictions: exploring alternative fashion worlds



The globalised fashion and textile industry is deeply implicated in the devastation of Earth’s life-supporting systems. In pursuit of radical alternatives, my research project, Fashion Fictions, brings people together to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of sustainable and satisfying fashion cultures and systems. The brief for these ‘parallel present’ fictions specifies that they should be positive and enticing; explore social and cultural factors; and focus attention on use, rather than production. While many speculative design projects elevate the ‘expert’ designer above a passive audience, Fashion Fictions has a three-stage participatory methodology, informed by interventional anthropology. At stage 1, brief written outlines of fictional fashion cultures and systems are generated. These outlines are developed during stage 2 workshops into visual and material prototypes. At stage 3, groups enact and experience the prototyped worlds in their everyday lives. This structure is designed to encourage diverse participants to create, adapt and subvert the fictions in order to bring varied interests and priorities to the fore. It also aims to uncover historical and contemporary real-world examples of sustainable fashion systems that could provide valuable insights for future practice. Overall, the project aims to inspire better ways of living with clothes.

fashion; participation; speculative design; design fiction

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About the Author(s)

Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd is Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability at Nottingham Trent University. After Bachelors and Masters degrees in fashion and textile design she founded her experimental knitwear label, Keep & Share, in 2004, to explore ideas of slowness and craft in relation to fashion and sustainability. Her PhD, completed at Birmingham City University in 2013, formed the basis of her first book, Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes, published in 2017. She has since co-edited two further books, Fashion Knitwear Design and Design Roots: Culturally Significant Designs, Products, and Practices. The practical side of her doctoral research developed into Reknit Revolution, an ongoing initiative supporting knitters to rework the items in their wardrobes. Current projects include the collaborative leadership of two funded research networks, Stitching Together and Crafting the Commons, and the new Fashion Fictions initiative. Amy is white, British, European, female, heterosexual, atheist, a mother and does not have a disability.

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