World 54, Enactment i: report

For environmental reasons, production of new textiles is severely limited in World 54. A resourceful yet opulent fashion culture has arisen in which people dress using sheets of cloth combined with cardigans for warmth, secured using ingeniously versatile straps and button arrangements. Assorted objects, often not originally intended as adornments for the body, are used as a form of oversized jewellery.

Dressing in this culture requires time, effort and creativity. Trends typically focus on the way in which fabric is draped, the arrangement of fastenings and the careful selection of colour and decoration. Intensive swapping enables further novelty and opportunities for self-expression.

Nineteen participants, two facilitators, a note-taker, a photographer, a film-maker and a pianist gathered in a music rehearsal room in Nottingham in May 2022 to bring World 54 to life.

Each participant was provided with a discarded bedsheet or curtain, adapted for wear through the addition of one or more holes and a grid of small buttons, and an intriguing strap, constructed from ribbon and buttonhole elastic.

Together, we explored how we might use these items – along with an occasional cardigan and oversized adornment made from found objects – to dress our bodies.

We experienced life in World 54 on fast forward, trying out a dressing-up game guided by instructions on randomly assigned cards to alter our outfits and take influence from others. We also slowed down time, performing scenarios to explore how the dynamics of dress would play out in this fictional fashion system.

This Enactment was devised by Amy Twigger Holroyd, building on an Exploration created by Johnny O’Flynn, Gillian Allsopp, Kate Harper and a Fashion Fictions contributor, which was in turn developed from a World contributed by Wendy Ward, using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the authors and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Image credits: Sanket Haribhau Nikam.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions

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