World 27, Enactment i: report

Hands sewing a label printed with a URL into a garment.

This Enactment was based on

and is documented in the

In August 2022 a group of eight participants plus three facilitators, a photographer and a film-maker met in an atmospheric wooded quarry in Derbyshire to enact a ritual clothing exchange from World 27.

Each participant was asked to bring a ‘story-full’ garment from their wardrobe to work with – though they were promised that they wouldn’t actually have to swap it!

The fiction guiding this Enactment:

In World 27, textile histories are central to the way garments are valued: the greater the number of associated stories, the greater an item’s desirability. Wearers are therefore motivated to keep items in circulation, rather than hoarding them, and ritual events throughout the year provide opportunities for storytelling and swapping.

In the East Midlands of England, a notable exchange follows celebration of the first harvest in August. At the event, wearers document the latest instalment of their garment’s story and enshrine it in a digital repository as an enduring textile ‘deed’; others then bid to be the item’s next custodian.

The afternoon Enactment involved a series of activities. First, the participants worked in pairs to speak from the perspective of their garments, revealing new aspects of the items’ experiences. Next, each person documented their garment’s story in a format of their choice, e.g. audio, text, drawing, photo.

This precious ‘deed’ was exchanged for a garment label printed with the URL of a unique space on a digital repository, FigShare, and the label was stitched into the garment. Following the workshop, the deed was uploaded to the relevant space on FigShare. This means that anyone who discovers the garment and its label in the foreseeable future will be able to access the story recorded at this exchange.

Follow the links to browse the deeds on FigShare:

Next, the group gathered in a circle to share an oral version of their stories, one by one. As each person told their garment’s story, they hung it on a washing line strung between the trees, as if saying goodbye and offering it for exchange.

Finally, we journeyed back from the parallel world and used the wonder-capture activity to reflect on what we had learnt from our experiences there.

Want to try this out for yourself?

This Enactment was devised by Amy Twigger Holroyd, building on an Exploration created by Sally Cooke, Charlotte Tupper and a Fashion Fictions contributor, which was in turn developed from a World contributed by Jeannine Diego, 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.

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Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions