Dress For Our Time by Holition

Dress For Our Time, by award-winning artist and designer Helen Storey MBE RDI (London College of Fashion, UAL Centre for Sustainable Fashion) and creative agency Holition is a unique installation that brings statistics and fashion together to explore one of the world’s most pressing issues. Using innovative technology, the latest data and Helen’s unique voice in fashion, Dress For Our Time will delves into the complex matter of human displacement in a pioneering endeavour to change the social narrative of this complex topic.

The dress itself is a decommissioned refugee tent which once housed a refugee family in Jordan and was gifted to the project by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In giving the tent a meaningful reincarnation as a public installation, Dress For Our Time transcends both data and fashion by humanising the numbers to tell a bigger story.

The UNHCR has logged a record 65.3 million people currently displaced worldwide and 21.3 million refugees*. Dress For Our Time uses the very latest data, representing one year’s worth of UNHCR statistics collected by its Field Information and Coordination Section. This information was utilised to visualise the refugee crisis through a striking animation that will be projected onto the dress itself using bespoke data visualisation developed by Holition. The animation is formed of points of light, each representing one hundred human lives and creatively illustrates the journey each one takes in search of a better life. The lights flow from six points, depicting the continents where the refugees have moved from, before populating the countries in which they find shelter. The image that emerges is not a world map of countries but a never seen before map of human migration.

Helen Storey, Professor of Fashion and Science at London College of Fashion, UAL said “Worldwide, one in every 113 people on the planet is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking shelter - but numbers means nothing, if they don’t affect your own heart. This project uses the power of fashion to help us connect to the previously unimaginable and asks how each and every one of us can remain a humanitarian in such a time of colossal and irreversible change”.

Jonathan Chippindale, CEO Holition commented “Dress for Our Time harnesses the appeal of fashion with the power of data-visualisation to communicate complex issues and stimulate debate about society and the effect of migration”.

On Thursday 17 August-4th September, Dress For Our Time was invited to be exhibited in the Science Museum as part of their Our Lives In Data exhibition. The reception from media and visitors was exceptional and the data visualisation piece was praised for uniqueness and emotive interpretation of such a complex and sensitive topic.