World 54, Enactment i: recipe

Enactment materials ready for a workshop: bedsheets, straps, adornments elastic and instruction cards.

Seen the World 54 Enactment i report or story and want to try it out for yourself?

Great! Follow this guide to have a go.

You’ll be enacting a fictional fashion world in which production of new textiles has ceased and people dress resourcefully using bedsheets and items they find around the home.

The activity outlined below is designed for a group and takes a few hours. You could do it slower or faster, and you could also try it out individually.

The fiction guiding your Enactment:

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.

What you need

The activity described below requires various items:

  • A space to work in, large enough for everyone to spread out
  • Bedsheets or curtains with a least one hole/opening within and small buttons attached in a grid formation, roughly 50cm apart (one per person)
  • Straps made from ribbon and buttonhole elastic, at least a metre in length, constructed in a formation reminiscent of seaweed (one per person)
  • Cardigans with small buttons (can be fewer than one per person)
  • Adornments made from random lightweight found items e.g. small toys, twigs – can be attached to hair clips (one per person)
  • Mirrors or mirrored card
  • Instruction cards (download in pdf format / docx format, cut to A7 size) – print one set of cards per two participants; shuffle well; give each participant a random set of ten cards
  • Scenario sheets (download in pdf format / docx format)
  • Reflection sheet (download Reflection sheet A in pdf format / docx format / download Reflection sheet B in pdf format / docx format)

We have a kit of sheets, straps, cardigans, adornments and mirrored card for twenty participants available to borrow, free of charge, for any group in the UK wishing to enact World 54. All we ask in exchange is that you share photographs and reflections from your activity.

To enquire about borrowing the kit, please contact Amy.

If you want to try out a simple version of the Enactment at home, you can work with an old sheet, something to tie with (e.g. a belt or scarf) and assorted household objects.

  • Create initial ‘outfit sets’ of one sheet and one strap and arrange them in a circle. Position the mirrors or mirrored cards nearby.

    Introduce participants to the World and the general idea of the Enactment.

  • Introduce participants to the sheets and straps and explain how the buttons can be used to connect the two.

    Demonstrate a good way to get started: lay the sheet on the floor, button side up, and gather it onto the strap before positioning the ‘garment’ on the body.

  • Invite participants to have a go at dressing in a sheet and strap. Suggest that they work in pairs, if they wish.

  • Hand out a set of instruction cards to each person. Explain the ‘rules’ of the performance: each person should work through their cards in the order given, following each instruction, without talking. They can interpret each instruction as they wish. When they have completed their cards, they should stand still and wait.

    When everyone is ready, commence the performance.

  • If you wish, repeat the performance one or more times, adding in the options of the cardigans and adornments.

    Swap the sets of instruction cards so each person is working with a new set each time.

  • Take time to reflect on the experience of the performance(s), using Reflection sheet A if you wish.

    In small groups, take it in turns to share one key reflective insight and discuss.

  • Divide the participants into groups of 3-4 people and give each group one of the scenarios.

    Explain the task: to devise and enact a performance of the scenario, lasting 2-3 minutes. Participants will need to consider how the scenario would play out in the fictional fashion culture of World 54.

  • Each group should devise, rehearse and perform their ‘let’s pretend’ scenario.

    Note that the performance does not have an audience: all groups will be enacting their scenarios simultaneously, and the focus is on the process, rather than the quality of acting!

  • Again, take time to reflect on the experience of the scenario, using Reflection sheet B if you wish.

    In small groups, take it in turns to share one key reflective insight and discuss.

  • As an additional or alternative opportunity for reflection, you might like to use the Fashion Fictions wonder-capture activity.

Tell us about your Enactment

Have you had a go at enacting World 54? We’d love to hear how it went! Send an email to Amy with your news.

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