Communicating Sustainably

Click the image to play

This week we are lucky enough to have a student perspective on the blog, here Dino Bonacic (MA Fashion Media Production) tells us about his approach to communicating sustainability through the fashion media.

Having an honest story behind the communication of sustainability is extremely important. Here’s one of a media guy trying to understand what sustainable media is and how to put that puzzle together.

Around 5 months ago, I decided to stop buying new clothes. It was partly due to the fact that I was living alone in London, which also meant that I was paying for rent/food/bills/fun in the city (for everyone that isn’t currently living here – just google ‘London flat price’ and get the idea). Finance aside, my switch in retail habits was also inspired by my experience studying at LCF. It was February 2015 and I was starting the newly introduced Collaborative Unit – a cross-disciplinary part of my post-graduate course that asked for all of the MA students of LCF to create a project. The only requirement for this project was – you have to do it with someone. I was lucky enough my group of someones was made up of 4 fellow students supported by CSF and Kering.

Those first couple of weeks of the project were crucial for my personal journey. I wasn’t feeling happy with everything that had surrounded me in terms of fashion – ridiculous pacing of trends, a blind plague-like exchange of information, and the overcrowded conveyor belt feeling that current fashion gives. It was all a bit depressing, realising that everything you once wanted to have as part of your life (or rather wished to become a part of) isn’t really enough for you anymore. Studying at LCF made me start thinking critically of fashion, and it perhaps ruined my doe-eyed view of the industry. But instead of looking at the whole subject in a negative matter, I’ve turned that endless ray of critique into something positive – modifying myself and my work in direction of sustainable fashion.

For the Kering x CSF collaborative project, I was lucky enough to get into an amazing team with 4 talented students coming from completely different backgrounds: Rebecca’s psychology, Desirée’s fashion design or Xiuyuan’s and Nicholai’s business perspectives – they’ve all helped me look at sustainability in a different manner. We came up with an idea of a democratic collaboration as an essence of creating sustainable fashion, which we manifested through a capsule collection for Kering’s smallest brand Christopher Kane. There’s a film about our work here.

Another project that helped me mould myself into a sustainable individual was Again – an LCF-based second-hand-themed magazine created mainly by MA Fashion Journalism students. Luckily, the editor-in-chief Valentina liked my idea of creating a satire of the trend lists that form content across much of the fashion media, so I took my chance . Instead of naming all of the reasons someone has to buy something, my piece Refrain. Sustain. Gain. was 10 reasons why you shouldn’t throw away your white t-shirt. This notion is still essential for me – a critique of what exists, projected through using existing techniques and methods but reversing the roles and the context.

That’s how I came up with Confessions Of a White T-shirt. COWT is a multimedia concept of communicating sustainability and the importance of respecting one’s clothes through a series of 5 short films based around 5 different stories spoken from perspectives of 5 individual t-shirts. The main objective of the films I both wrote and directed was to produce a new, interesting and powerful media solution on the subject of sustainability which leads the audience into the moments of reflection upon their own wardrobes and (re)creation of relationships with their own white t-shirts. In this case, the white t-shirt plays a symbol – as a piece that’s extremely cheap for our wallet, we don’t necessarily think about the price for the environment. We consider the t-shirt as simple, blank and interchangeable while it’s everything but that – it’s powerful, meaningful and emotional. Those ideas were the core of COWT.

Finally, it’s important to be self-critical. Have I developed a completely ideal way of communicating sustainability through fashion media? Probably not. But what I have learned through creating these projects is that it’s important to look forward while respecting what’s behind us – creating new concepts whilst having the old ones in mind. Because that’s exactly what sustainability is for me – cherishing what you have while looking in front of you.

Words, images and films by Dino Bonacic.