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Dress For Our Time


Dress For Our Time is by artist, designer and Centre for Sustainable Fashion researcher Prof. Helen Storey. Dress For Our Time uses the power of fashion to communicate some of the world’s most complex issues. Through fashion, science and wonder the project will help change the way we think and act upon climate change. When Helen learnt that we consume 30% more resources each year than our planet can replenish (this figure is taken from WWF’s The Living Planet Report), and that if we continue at this rate we will need at least 3 more planets to survive she knew that all of her work needed to be directed towards finding creative and unusual ways to help engage us in the urgent issues of our time.

Dress For Our Time will be realised in a series of Chapters – the first focuses on Climate Change with the first ever-physical embodiment of the ‘Dress’ installed at St Pancras International train station on 26 November 2015 for four days only. As the gateway to Paris – the city hosting the United Nations Climate Change conference COP 21 – many of the delegates that pass through the station came face to face with the world’s first digital couture dress dedicated to exploring climate change and its human impact.

Project Development

First sketch by Helen Storey

Two years in the making, Helen has brought together collaborators and supporters including Holition, Unilever, Met Office and the UNHCR, people from very different backgrounds in science, business, education, technology, humanitarian work and fashion, to explore ways to engender a public debate about this most critical question.

The project began with a meeting where Helen gathered climate scientists and researchers to look at how we as a species are or are not responding to climate change.  A date was mentioned during the discussion, the tipping point for us as a species – 2020, and this date has changed everything for Helen.

With various partners, voices and agendas it’s been an interesting and a continually developing journey, one which has and still raises many issues and concerns for us as a team.  One being how we communicate a difficult and often scary subject matter? How do we engage people on this?  Especially when the most common responses to climate change are ‘technology will save us’, ‘God will save us’ and/or ‘it’s not happening’, ‘it’s too complicated’ or ‘no-one else is doing anything, why should I?’

And from Helen’s personal interviews, the worst thing she’s heard is, ‘well, everybody I know and love now will be dead by then, so I don’t care.’

The Film

Click the image to play

A film was created by international production company The Free Associates and award winning creative director and film maker David Betteridge to mark the launch of Chapter 1 at St Pancras International in November 2015.

Chapter 1

Dress For our Time at St Pancras International, image by Sam Lane

Visitors leave comments, image by Sam Lane

The dress digitally displayed data which showed us the impact of climate change on our physical world. It displayed our planet as it will be if we DON’T DO ENOUGH. The dress has been developed in partnership with award winning interactive creative agency Holition, and the data has been taken from a study conducted by a team of global scientists and provided by the Met Office.

The Dress itself is made from a tent (which was no longer in useable condition) gifted to the project by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In giving the tent a second life it gives this public art installation an unbreakable bond to humanity and represents the importance of nurturing and protecting all people and safeguarding generations to come.  It is a powerful symbol of what it means to be human and the precarious nature of our existence.

“None of us have all the answers – but by using creative ways to discuss the issues which really matter to us and future generations – we can find new ways to explore the evidence and stay in relationship to its truth” Helen Storey, Huffington Post

Follow the project on: Instagram and the website – add to the conversation using #Dress4OurTime