On Sunday March 6th, 2016, the New York Historical Society hosted the inaugural conference in honor of Jean Dubinsky Appleton, titled Sweat Equity: Women in the Garment Industry. The conference concluded with a panel from Parsons, moderated by Fashion Praxis member, Timo Rissanen. BFA Fashion Design senior Nora Maloney spoke of her thesis project, a collection of zero waste garments, developed with the support of her thesis instructors Lester Rodriguez and Jennifer Belton, and a fashion magazine focusing on sustainability. The magazine features interviews with Livia Firth and Andrew Morgan and work by fellow Parsons students. BFA Fashion Design junior Casey Barber discussed how participating in the Parsons Design Lab course, Design for Care, in fall 2015 is now informing her studies in her core courses, with a rich view of sustainability in fashion design. The panel finished by presenting the flag currently being made by Fashion Praxis – a flag we hope never to fly.
Yesterday we started the process of making the flag. It is saying “A Garment Worker Was Killed Yesterday” and will be flown from Parsons to highlight the structural violence inherent within the current system of fashion production. The flag will now be moving between classes as students and faculty will help attach the letters while engaging with the topic.
Many hands are needed to change things. Awareness is not enough. Action needs to be cultivated. A letter at the time.
Lynching flag flying at NAACP headquarters, ca. 1938.
In 1920 the NAACP began flying a black flag from the windows of its headquarters at 69 Fifth Avenue when a lynching had occurred. The words on the flag says simply, “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday.” The threat of losing its lease forced the NAACP to discontinue the practice in 1938.
A keen observer will notice that the buildings just behind the flag in the photo is now the central Parsons campus on the intersection of 5th Avenue and West 13th street.
Honoring the NAACP campaign against segregation and racial violence, and having Parsons as a next-door neighbor to NAACP’s former headquarters, the fashion praxis lab will produce a flag to fly out its window as a marker against violence and exploitation in fashion production. Flying such colors at Parsons points to how fashion production, on a regular basis and systemic level, feeds into the oppression and death of workers.
The Fashion Praxis lab will host the workshop to make the flag on March 1st, at 6pm in room L702 (2w13th, the building just behind the flag in the 1938 photo above). We hope to see you there.
The books is finished, and now available at Amazon.com.
It is also available here as a pdf: FashionCondition-web.
It has been a great journey and we are very happy the text finally left google docs to have a more worthy incarnation in book format. We hope it may inspire some new discussions on fashion and politics. Enjoy!
After a long process of discussions, writings, editings and rewritings on google-doc we finally got something together: The Fashion Condition. Now the final touches are done and it is in the coming days sent off to the printer: our first manifestation as the fashion praxis collective!
Here is a sneak-peek. Stay tuned.
Day five was the final day of what felt like a real beginning. The group spent the morning feverishly reading, writing and adding to our shared, constantly evolving “Pirate Pad.” “Pirate Pad” served as the site from which our collective scholarship sprung. During the second half of the day, decisions regarding the layout and presentation of our text were made. The group reached consensus on book title, chapter names, and the order in which the books various ingredients would appear. We considered academic scholarship, interviews, reflections, illustrated works and negotiated where they would be situated in relation to each other. Finally, members of the Book Sprint reflected on the 5-day workshop: our process, challenges, roadblocks, and solutions for future collective actions.
I believe we left the space feeling challenged, inspired and eagerly anticipating the next step. With Hannah Arendt in our hearts, and minds filled with more questions than when we arrived, each member of the Book Sprint returned to their everyday praxis, continuing to work and reflect on the book that was born at The New School.
On day four, participants mediated thinking groups based on shared interests. A discussion on “work” explored its meaning and evaluation. The conversation on “Fashion education” challenged the role of the institution in education and in making/praxis. Throughout all five days, there was much talk about thinking versus making, theory versus practice, and how to transform the “versus” of these formulations into a synthesizing force, such as a “while” or an “and.”
“If you want to innovate, you need to create the right setting for it. The only thing that makes innovation is chance, and what creates chance is chaos.”
Posted in book sprint, education, pedagogy
Tagged interview, making, observations, opportunities, philosophy, questions, Rudolf Steiner, sources, talk back, thinking, thinking about thinking, tutoring, unknown, values