Blog 8-Burks

I thought the year long performance project of the little brown dress was really interesting. I really admire Alex Martin for rejecting all things society tells us to do regarding wearing clothes and not wearing them all the time, but she completely rejected that and did her own thing to minimalize the financial investment that she spent on clothing that year. I do not think I could do that because I would eventually get tired of wearing and looking at the same thing on my body every day but I admire her commitment to it. I also think Ikeas flat pack house is related to this because consumers of today are becoming aware of the benefits and the spiritual and mental regeneration of living a minimalistic lifestyle. Ikeas flat pack house is small and simple but it provides a consumer with everything in a home that they need without the excess and unnecessary space that wastes resources like electricity, water, and materials to make it. These things are related to the Having question of “How much is enough” that Fletcher talks about in the readings which talks about the dominant culture of today saying that the more you have the better, but there is so much evidence going against those thoughts and data. Research showed that 53% of Americans said the less amount of stuff that they had made them feel less stressed, so this is just further evidence that the more that we simplify life and the number of items that we have can physically make us happier and allow us to live better lives. However, this is an interesting concept and honestly kind of intimidating for the fashion and retail industry because like Fletcher says, we as an industry are based on consumption so if the rate of that is going to start decreasing that could prove to become a problem for our industry. Another part from Fletchers article that I enjoyed learning about and connecting with the things that we learn in class is the part about Being and connecting our apparel or objects of material culture that mean different things for different consumers if they have an emotional connection or attachment to them. I have a white dress that I wore for a graduation from a bible school program that I am going to keep forever even though it is for a child because it has significant meaning and emotional connection to me and I want to be able to tell my children about it and hopefully they can wear it one day too. So for some designers to stay competitive and sustainably advantageous in a market that may have a decreasing demand level could focus on designing garments that are going to connect to someone emotionally in some way to get them to keep and cherish the object but to also make sure they see how they need it, to make the initial purchase. I did find it quite interesting to see just how much a simple t-shirt is marked up, creating an 83% profit margin, because it is being outsourced and produced where they don’t have to pay the workers in a fair compensation. I think that is ridiculous. If it was produced in an ethical way and took a slight less amount of profit it still could be a sustainable business, but the way greed takes over the leaders of some companies is just so sad to me. I think the designers that are trying to be more ethical and emotionally attached to the people they are designing for are a much better example of how to do business. Like an entire learning community of LOLA show girls talked about empathic design where they incorporate the natural world into different places that would normally not have that connection to the outside world like in a Cat scan room that had a fake sun roof so that there was synthetic natural light shining in and calming the patient. I thought that was really cool, because the one time I had to have a cat scan it was really dark in the room and it was really creepy, I definitely got more nervous. Another girl from that group talked about having a garden inside of places for people to be able to go into and experience the growth process inside of a building like a mall or a hospital that would calm people and make them feel better.


-Lauren Burks

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