Accidental Icon: Anarchy Through Elegance
Lately I have been thinking about the notion of work. There are many reasons for this. I suppose the first being that right now I am doing a great deal of it. There is the professional work I do as an academic, the personal work I do as a caregiver and then the creative work I do as a writer and art director for a blog. When you work hard and with much effort work is called labor. This labor moves quickly and fast with little time for thinking or the daydreaming that seems so necessary to each of my endeavors. Little stumbling blocks become large frustrations rather than problems to be leisurely solved and learned from for the next time. This seems to be the condition of modern work. Some days it all blurs and I feel less like a human and more like a machine.
In this post I am wearing a dress by the design duo known as Aganovitch from their A/W 2013 collection. For the collection, Nana Aganovitch and Brooke Taylor were inspired by factories and old machines. The dress mimics the lines of an early twentieth century working class wardrobe with it's voluminous long skirt and puffed up sleeves. Lines worked in bronze, black and violet with an asymmetrical silhouette, lush and cleverly bonded fabrics suggest the practicality and the mystery of a sophisticated machine.
Characterized as an "intelligent" fashion label, each of their collections is built around a narrative developed by Brooke, an essayist and philosophy graduate, and then realised in garments conceived and designed by Nana, a Central Saint Martins graduate. On the brands website and social media, references to art and literature abound and especially pertinent for this post: a concern with labor and working conditions. The pair designed a collection of clothes to take part in the May Day Riots in Central London. This year, in honor of International Workers Day, Nana and Brooke shared on Facebook the prototype for a clothing tag based on the classic icon for factory, a raised fist. The five digits represent five key points related to labor law. This tag on their clothing would indicate that whatever the factory or country of manufacture those five rights would be personally verified by Aganovitch.
When one takes time to research, daydream and reflect new ways of seeing old problems emerge. In the writing of this post I see that perhaps my professional life and creative life do not have to be so far apart. Perhaps I can make my work life more human if I explore how to combine the two. The more I delve into fashion the more I can see it is not incompatible with my commitment to social welfare. In fact it can be a powerful voice and tool. These activist designers have helped me to see that I do not have to sacrifice one passion for the other. That anarchy and a better solution can be created through elegance.
For more looks from this collection see my Pinterest Board, Accidental Icon: Aganovitch Work and Machines.
What is your relationship to your work and how do your clothes help you express it?