DESIGN FOR CARE
Part of the Parsons Festival, the garments are among a number of projects that the school says embody its “human-centered approach to technology and commitment to confronting real-world problems.”
“This exciting collaboration between Parsons and Tide brings an innovative approach to fashion design that transforms the way we use clothes,” Burak Cakmak, dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, said in a statement. “This new way of thinking about fashion design with ‘care of use’ will challenge and inspire the industry and Parsons is thrilled to be starting the conversation.”
But laundering only served as an “entry point” into a deeper conversation about garment use and how combinations of fabrics can wear differently over time, according to Timo Rissanen, an assistant professor of fashion design who taught the class alongside Liz Spencer of the Dogwood Dyer.
“The intention was to add value over time in contrast to the perception that clothes lose value when signs of wear become visible,” Rissanen told Ecouterre. “Flexibility of use, regarding garment size and function, were also common considerations. A skirt with three tiers can be unzipped to be two- or single-tiered skirt, as well.”
Many of the concepts, Rissanen added, extended from the core philosophies of “Local Wisdom,” an initiative, piloted by “slow fashion” pioneer Kate Fletcher, that explored how the “craft of use” can extend the lives of our clothing.
Spencer helped the students harness natural dye techniques to add color to the two organic-cotton fabrics—a sateen and a sherpa knit—without the use of heavy-metal mordants.
“Although initially some recycled polyester was planned to be a part of the collection, this fell out of favor in light of the amount of fibers shed during laundry, a source of plastic pollution in waterways,” Rissanen said.
For Jacob Olmedo, one of the students in the class, the course allowed him to consider more acutely our evolving relationship with our clothing.
“This project for me was a deeper reflection of how we treat our clothes, how we can construct clothes in a smarter way. Washing our clothes is essential in the society we live in today, so getting the chance to partner and work with Tide to create this collection that is washable was incredible,” he said. “This project changed my perception on how I can create clothes in a more forward-thinking and sustainable way.”