Openwear collaboration

As part of our Impact lecture series this year, the BA first year textiles students were introduced to Zoe Romano, founder of Open Wear, a collaborative clothing platform, where people upload clothing patterns they have created to be shared by anyone.

While initially, Zoe was going to be offering the students a template pattern for a project they were working on, this didn’t eventuate, but this didn’t stop Alexandra Brinck, one of the textile students from sharing with OpenWear.

Alexandra designed a bag that turns into a shirt and contacted Zoe for uploading it on to the Open Wear website. Alexandra initiated this collaboration inspired by the talk and wanted to challenge ‘sustainability through multi-functionality’

‘ I have been in touch with Zoe, and will be sharing one of my own patterns on OpenWear – this way we are still collaborating with them, it’s just that the pattern contribution is going in the other direction! I felt it would have been a shame after the great talk Zoe delivered not to strike while the iron was hot and get a collaboration going between Chelsea and OpenWear.’

E-co textiles

DIY mania was in action last weekend at the Future Everything Craft event in Manchester, with Mel Bowles and Jen Ballie introducing audiences to their co-design textile/fashion projects.

Also at the event were projects including Pics to Knits a web based project which allows a user to convert any image to a knitting pattern which forms a blanket or throw and David Littler’s sampler-cultureclash an international collective of sound artists, DJ’s, embroiderers, textile designers, performance poets, machine hackers and dancers who are exploring the connections between textiles and sound and the cultures of embroidery and DJ-ing.


A few things we have been watching, reading and talking about lately around co-design and collaboration……

There’s a new book called What’s Mine is Yours: the Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by social innovator Rachel Botsman. She was speaking at the RSA last week, and we couldn’t get in as it was all sold out. But you can hear the talk here and a talk she gave on (that’s not us by the way! we are getting confused with the American TED more and more!)

We have been very interested in this new trend in consumer behaviour for a while now, and what it means for designers.

One of our favourite fashion projects that involves online networks and a type of collaborative consumption is the Uniform Project. Founder Sheena Matheiken, was also on TED, and you can watch her talk here and listen to her interview on Radio 4 recently here.

While she wore the same dress for one year, she accessorised it with pieces that were all second hand and all donated or given or swapped. She looked fabulous every single day and by offering a daily update, readers became part of her story and were also encouraged to donate funds to support a charity in India.

In this world of hyper-consumerism, where we have and know everything, consumers are wanting to make more meaningful purchases. This relates to a talk we attended here at Chelsea last week by Glen Adamson, writer and thinker around craft and design. While there were many interesting points made (and hopefully there will be a review of the talk by one of the TED members shortly), the title and thrust of the talk was ‘Affective objects’ – the idea that hand-crafted objects arouse an emotional response in us, and that something that has been made with attention to detail, care and skill, reminds us of the beautiful and profound in life, and is an antedote to our modern living.