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Shirt Stories: Know Thyself

"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom." Socrates

Students standing back to back on a raised platform

During Spring/Summer 2019 Becky Earley designed and delivered a masterclass with a group of MA Textile students at Chelsea, encouraging them to understand themselves more fully, before attempting to design for others. Circular design is complex. It requires a whole new way of working with materials and people, and an ability to see the whole picture – the systems we are currently part of and new ones we want to create. In this project we asked ‘What kind of designer do I want to be? How can I best go out into the world and create change?’ Our aim in this masterclass project was to make a remanufactured shirt to suit our conscious selves. The inspiration came from conducting original mesearch (or autoethnography, when a researcher uses their personal experiences to tackle academic questions): We attempted to make something for ourselves, that we would want to wear and be able to articulate why this is; We used fabric that is second hand, preferably a shirt (but it didn’t have to be). We considered its next life and future recyclability – if it is not monomaterial, how can the different elements be identified and come apart later?; We explored and employed low impact textile techniques.

MA Textile Design students included Tracy Ann Bergstrom, Cecilia Ceccherini, Fiona Daly, Natasha Khurana, Emma McGinn, Kath Lovett, Jiaxuan Li, Laura Piva, Sarah Trowsdale, Nour Abdul Salam, Giorgia Vergani, Yuqing Wang, Chunqing Wu, Qianqian Wu.

The students showed their final creations at Becky’s Professorial Platform Lecture event. You can watch her talk online, and also download the publication which accompanies the lecture from Issuu.