The ‘Fashioning Cancer Project’ at the University of British Columbia (UBC) bears some resemblance to the types of outreach projects supported by the UK’s Wellcome Trust (for an example see my June 21, 2011 posting) where fashion designers are inspired by some aspect of science. Here’s more about the ‘Fashioning Cancer Project’ and its upcoming fashion show (on March 25, 2014). From the March 12, 2014 UBC news release (Note: Links have been removed),
A UBC costume design professor has created a collection of ball gowns inspired by microscopic photos of cancer cells and cellular systems to get people talking about the disease, beauty and body image.
The project aims to create alternative imagery for discussions of cancer, to complement existing examples such as the pink ribbon, which is an important symbol of cancer awareness, but may not accurately represent women’s experience with the disease.
“Many women who have battled cancer express a disconnect with the fashion imagery that commonly represents the disease,” says Jacqueline Firkins, an assistant professor in UBC’s Dept. of Theatre and Film, who designed the collection of 10 dresses and dubbed the work ‘Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty.’
Inspired by cellular images captured by researchers in the lab of UBC scientist Christian Naus, a Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence, the project seeks to create artistic imagery based on the disease itself.
“My hope is that somehow through fashion, I more closely tap into what a woman might be feeling about her body as she undergoes the disease, but simultaneously reflect a strength, beauty, and resilience,” says Firkins, who will use the collection to raise money for cancer research, patients and survivors.
“This will be an opportunity for people to share their thoughts about the gowns,” says Firkins. “Are they too pretty to reflect something as destructive as cancer? Do they encourage you to tell your own story? Do they evoke any emotions related to your own experience?”
Before giving you where and when, here are two images (a cell and a dress based on the cell),
Details about the show (from the UBC event description webpage where you can also find a slide show more pictures),
- Event: Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty
- Date: Tue. March 25, 2014 | Time: 12-1pm
- Location: UBC’s Frederic Wood Theatre, 6354 Crescent Rd.
- MAP: http://bit.ly/1fZ4bC8
On a more or less related note, Aalto University (Finland) has announced a dress made of birch cellulose fibre, from a March 13, 2014 news item on ScienceDaily,
The first garment made out of birch cellulose fibre using the Ioncell method is displayed at a fashion show in Finland on 13 March . The Ioncell method, which was developed by researchers at Aalto University, is an environmentally friendly alternative to cotton in textile production. The dress produced for Marimekko is a significant step forward in the development of fibre for industrial production.
Researchers were looking for new alternatives to cotton, because demand for textile fibres is expected to nearly double by 2030. The raw material for the Ioncell fibre is a birch-based pulp from Finnish pulp mills. Growing birch wood does not require artificial irrigation in its native habitat, for instance.
The Aalto University March 12, 2014 news release, which originated the news item, describes the new Ioncell fibre and its relationship with Finnish clothing company Marimekko,
The production method for Ioncell has been developed by Professor Herbert Sixta’s research group. The method is based on a liquid salt (ionic liquid) developed under the guidance of Professor Ilkka Kilpeläinen which is a very efficient cellulose solvent. The fibres derived from it are carded and spun to yarns at the Textile University of Börås in Sweden.
‒ We made a breakthrough in the development of the method about a year ago. Progress has been rapid since then. [see my Oct. 3, 2013 posting for another Finnish team's work with wood cellulose to create fabric] Production of the fibre and the thread is still a cumbersome process, but we have managed to triple the amount of fibre that is produced in six months. The quality has also improved: the fibers are stronger and of more even quality, Professor Sixta says with satisfaction.
The surface of the ready textile has a dim glow and it is pleasing to the touch. According to Sixta, because of its strength, the strength properties of the Ioncell fibre are equal or even better than other pulp-based fibres on the market. The fibres are even stronger than cotton and viscose.
The Finnish textile and clothing design company Marimekko became inspired by the new fibre at an event organised by the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC, which coordinates bioeconomy research, and immediately got in touch with Professor Herbert Sixta at Aalto University.
‒ We monitor product development for materials closely in order to be able to offer our customers new and more ecological alternatives. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to join this Aalto University development project at such an early stage. Fibre made from birch pulp seems to be a promising material by virtue of its durability and other characteristics, and we hope that we will soon be able to utilise this new material in our collections, says Noora Niinikoski, Head of Fashion at Marimekko.
Here’s the birch cellulose dress,
Let’s all have a fashionable day!