Guest post: Fashionable science
Lulie Biggs, Creative Director of the Design and Gerontology project, discusses how students can explore the mind and body through fashion.
The Design and Gerontology project used the science of ageing to inspire young people to design an exciting clothing collection.
Working with fashion designers and scientists who specialise in the ageing process, students studied the changes to our mind and body as we age. The resulting designs not only demonstrate an understanding of our physical and functional changes, but also form an innovative fashion collection.
The natural next step was to hold a show. The result is ‘D&G On Tour!’, a touring exhibition featuring work from the project, produced following consultation with hospitals, schools and museums, and with additional support from the Wellcome Trust.
The beauty of our exhibition is that it shows off a variety of different skills gained and developed over the duration of the project. Two metre high banners provide an exciting ‘pop up’ exhibition, which, according to feedback, has been judged to be both informative and visually exciting.
Thus far, we have toured six schools with the exhibition, accompanied by supporting workshops looking at the changes to our eyesight, muscles, bones, skin, hearing, circulation and brain as we age. Students created mood boards to start their design development, with others progressing further to fully formed designs. The students have responded with fantastic creativity, with some great work produced by nearly 800 students so far. And in March we attended The Big Bang Fair in Manchester, allowing us to reach a larger audience of schoolchildren and teachers.
Our next big event will be at Guys Hospital in London (Atrium 2, Bermondsey Wing SE1 9RT) from 4 August – 3 September, where we have a fabulously huge space to house the exhibition. We will be displaying the garments within frames, collection photographs, science illustrations made for the project, footage of the catwalk shows, and design work created by the young people involved in the project. Gabrielle Allen, the curator at Guys, has offered us fantastic support and we hope to gather the young designers together for the opening.
If you miss that, the next big public event will be at the Fashion and Textile Museum from 6–24 October.
A DVD learning resource is also available for anyone wishing to explore the subject further (contact details at the end of this post).
This features 10 films looking at age related changes to our mind and brain, skin, eyesight, hearing, circulation, muscles and bone. Other films demonstrate key points to consider when designing and a case study of a designer’s remarkable journey from inspiration to catwalk outfit.
Contributors to the DVD include:
- Dr Claire Steves, Clinical research fellow, King’s College , London
- Professor Simon Lovestone, IOP, King’s College, London
- Professor Stephen Jackson, Department of Clinical Gerontology, King’s College, London
- Chris Brooke, Designer and co-founder Basso and Brooke.
We have big plans to develop the project further and to broaden its reach to new communities. If anyone would like to offer any advice, support or perhaps just comment, we would welcome feedback.
18-24 Shacklewell Lane
London E8 2EZ
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Our partners for the initial D&G programme:
- Students and staff from Pimlico Academy and Quintin Kynaston School
- Professor Robert Weale, Institute of Gerontology
- Professor Simon Lovestone, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London
- Chris Brooke, fashion designer, Basso and Brooke
- Andrew Ibi, Kingston University and the Convenience Store
We are extremely grateful to the support provided by the Wellcome Trust.
The project was devised and produced by ActionDog.