As I sat in a newly designated space, back in early 2008, I felt a great sense of optimism, balanced with one of absolute fear. I had been given the go-ahead with my plan, which was to work with amazing people, to galvanise our collective energies, imaginations and experiences, to find what fashion might look like if an honouring of people and nature were at its heart.
The optimism came from those who had helped me on the way, the genius insights and wisdom (thank you FC, UH, NS, KH, KF, LP, HH, KD, RM, JM, RV et al.) It came from the incredible inspiration that I drew from those who I knew or whose work I knew and it came from my own life and an unswerving commitment (thank you my wonderful family for that).
The fear came from the magnitude of the challenges, not knowing enough, not knowing what we could do that would really count and not knowing if what did would be counted. It came from the horrors as well as the joys of fashion and it came from a worldwide lack of looking each other in the eye and saying: ‘lets do this, it has to be, together.’
5 years down the line, much has happened in our lives and in the world around us. I have the privilege to guide a community of highly acclaimed researchers, designers, tutors and communicators, a network of incredible minds and actions from all walks of life and we’re a University of the Arts Research Centre working alongside activators and visionaries as colleagues and friends. But what really counts is that we are able to show what we can achieve together.
So we are spending the next few months here, on FB, twitter and through events, to share with you what we’ve been doing, what we stand for and where we might be going. We’ve named 5 routes that frame our work, we look forward to hearing your responses, ideas, hopes, suggestions, participation, so that we can, in the words of Obama, ‘Do what’s right.’
Be a Voice for Change – speak truth to power
Challenge Conventional Aesthetics – seek beauty and you will find it (Bill Cunningham)
Engage Citizen Action – as individuals, community members and societal contributors
Radicalise practice – to shape and respond to the world that we all want
Dream with your eyes wide open – design to be life viable, feasible and desirable