World Clothes for Equal Dignity

 

Thai 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 Thai Collection is made from material that Lindner bought in Thailand.

See further down the pictures taken by Evelin Frerk, of the prototypes that Lindner created during the past decades. 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 multicolored unisize blouse made of Thai silk.
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk, www.evelinfrerk.de


On 30th March 2014, Evelin Lindner made several attempts to inquire about silk and whether it is still being produced, and if yes, where. She learns that Takeo in Cambodia was the largest silk producer in the past according to a survey of the main silk producers located in Som Rong district, Barty district, Prey Karbas and Mongkol Borey district. On www.tpd.gov.kh one reads 'that the four main silk producing districts developed very fast in recent years under technical support from developing partners. Silk producers in 11 villages of Barty and Somrong district have formed the Takeo Silk Producer Community in order to facilitate technical assistance from various institutions. Production: 2,200 looms in four main districts, 90% of production is Samputh Hole, 10% of production are scarf and plain silks'.
On 28th March 2014, Evelin had noticed the Asia Craft Centre on the Road to Angkor Wat. She stopped and admired the women making silk at the entrance. When she entered, she learned that the shop was owned by a group of Kashmiri families, who have shops all over Asia. Once again, she received a confirmation that silk is being replaced by cheap mass-produced synthetic fabric from China and is now too expensive to produce. Thai silk is no longer made, she was told. Jim Thompson, in Thailand, now no longer sells silk made in Thailand, but made in China. The last rest of authentic silk production is in Kashmir, she learned...
Everywhere on the globe, Evelin observes a dramatic decay of the quality of products or the disappearance of products that were still ubiquitous a few years ago. She lived in Thailand in 1981 and asks: 'Where has the Thai silk gone that was sold at every corner? Thai silk is just one example. Why am I surrounded by mass produced quasi-waste instead, stuff that nobody really needs and that is poisoned by a variety of toxins? Why do we, the human family, sacrifice the recourses of our planet for such an absurdity?'
Linda Hartling, her husband Rick, and Evelin discussed this also with Nebil Basmaci, on 30th April 2010, at our 2010 Dignity Conference in Istanbul, when they attempted to enjoy the Covered Bazaar and unexpectedly had a very special conversation on the dignity - or rather the lack of dignity - in contemporary economic arrangements.

See the videos Evelin created (please note that they are not professionally done and are unedited):

• 12 Angkor, Cambodia: Asia and the Loss of Its Silk - Takeo, 30th March 2014

• 05 Angkor, Cambodia: Asia and the Loss of Its Silk - Another Sad Confirmation, 28th March 2014



10th and 11th April 2014, Kevin, the highly skilled taylor in the South of Thailand, made a new copy of my 30 years old Thai design that you see on the left.
• Please click on the pictures above or here to see more of my photos.



 

Links

Bangkok Fashion Week 2005
August 17 – 25, 2005
At the Fashion Dome, Benjakitti Park and the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center

Style Quest
Bangkok Fashion Week 2005 aims to place Thai brand names firmly on the world map, but can it compete with Paris, Milan and New York?
Story by Kelvin Rugg