World Clothes for Equal Dignity

 

African (Indonesian-Dutch-Global) Collection

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." HumanDHS aims at increasing respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). Our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project is part of this quest. It envisions increasing respect for cultural variety in this world. When we look around today, we all wear more or less the same, Western, clothes.

Our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project is part of our quest to build bridges from social science to other areas of life. When we look around today, we all wear more or less the same clothes, Western clothes. We, the HumanDHS group, believe that cultural diversity should receive more respect and attention, which, in the case of clothing, means that the diverse cultural heritage in clothing that we find around the world should be valued more and made more visible in day-to-day wear. At the current juncture in hisotry, traditional clothes are typically worn only to festive occasions. We wish to integrate this heritage into future-orientated innovative and creative design for day-to-day use.

An important point for HumanDHS is to deconstruct tradition, in this case traditional clothes design. We do not wish to accept everything as it is. Many aspects do not bolster our aim - equal dignity for all. Chinese footbinding is a drastic example of how women were intentionally mutilated and handicapped in order to fit into an image of feminity as cuteness and helplessness. We do not wish to preserve those aspects of tradition. Many clothes for women, both traditional and modern, carry "footbinding" aspects, in contrast to clothing made for males. Women typically can not breathe freely or walk forcefully. Corsets created a wasp waist that made women almost faint, Japanese kimonos and to a certain extent also Chinese qipaos have similar effects and hinder free movement, as do many modern clothes. Modern shoes make women walk in ways that signal fragility. Feminine beauty, elegance, and decency are conceptualized, in ways of méconnaissance and naturalization (Barthes, Bourdieu, Foucault), as lack of forcefulness. We wish to encourage women to opt for new definitions of beauty and elegance, definitions that lend them strength and power.

Clearly, future-oriented design entails more than just design. It means also awareness for fair trade, respect for the people who produce products, in this case clothes, and more personalized relationships between products and users.

The African Collection is made from material that Lindner found in factory outlets in Holland and Belgium. Clearly, the patterns betray the Dutch having been colonizers in Indonesia, where the art of batik is a cultural treasure. Lindner learned about batik in 1981 in Yogyakarta. In 1976, Lindner participated in a journey on a freight ship (Schulschiff "Kariba," Deutsche Afrikalinien) that transported the Dutch batik-inspired material from Holland to the African market. In 1999, she visited the (Senegalese) tailors of Bjumbura, the capital of Burundi, and she found that still in 1999, much of the material that is in use is being imported from Europe (Hollandais fabrics).

The batik-inspired material made in Holland for the African market could be called a "global" material in many ways. It tells stories of dignity and humiliation at a global scale. It reminds us of the story of colonization and oppression, however, tells also the story of cross-cultural fertilization.

See further down the pictures taken by Evelin Frerk, of the prototypes created by Lindner during the past 30 years. The clothes are being presented by Frerk's models. We envision that you can obtain a copy of these prototypes in return for a donation to our research activities. Among others, we wish to enable doctoral students, particularly from the Third World, who wish to do research on the notion of dignity and humiliation, to do so by HumanDHS scholarships.

 

This is a wide unisize coat with a matching dress.
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk, www.evelinfrerk.de.
Please click on the picture to see more.

 

This is a wide unisize jacket with a matching blouse.
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk, www.evelinfrerk.de.
Please click on the picture to see more.

 

This is a long coat with a matching dress.
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk, www.evelinfrerk.de.
Please click on the picture to see more.

 

This is a unisize coat with a matching dress (not unisize).
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk, www.evelinfrerk.de.
Please click on the picture to see more.