Raising the Hemline

Raising the Hemline is an activist platform designed to resource and give voice to people who are silent.

Patti DeSante is a zen buddhist chaplain who practices radical peacemaking. She asked me to come on board to help women and children, using fashion as a vehicle.

Our first task was producing a Raising the Hemline campaign in Vancouver, in collaboration with fashion designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills, whose designs are showcased in fashion shows around the world.

Raising the Hemline

For example, we hope to bring back 5 designers from different countries in 12 months (e.g. from Uganda) who otherwise would not have the opportunity to showcase in a North American fashion show.

We have 12 designer dresses from Zuhal Kuvan-Mills to complete, including those white dresses above. I was asked to create visual branding for the movement and manage the project.

What would catch people’s attention and use our team’s strengths? Patti, one of our team members, leads great meditation sessions. So we ran fashion sit-ins with short meditation sessions where Patti asked thought-provoking questions.

Raising the Hemline

For the first sit-in, we brought a model wearing a dress to the Art Gallery. There were four pillows around her, and passers-by were invited to sit down and draw on pieces of fabric that answered Patti’s meditation questions. These pieces of fabric were then sewn onto the dress.

Process

The movement needed a clean, simple mark that may be scribbled onto a dress, that would still be recognizable.

The branding should reflect:

– Intimacy
– Exposing, Attracting, Cutting away the layers of questions that we cannot ask
– Inspiration to take action, join in

If the branding can resonate with our audience, then they will be more likely to get involved and spread the word.

This is the vision board.

Raising the Hemline

After loads of sketching, I digitized a few ideas and sent them to the team for feedback.

Idea One – Anchored Equality

The arrows imply rising and that everyone is heard. This idea uses simple, universal shapes to juxtapose anchoring and rising. Plus, it is just my kind of cheeky.Raising the Hemline

Idea Two – Cutting

Scissors to cut away to issues that matter, that we don’t talk about in society. And our dresses are cut up. This was most suitable for our brand as the mark may be jotted down quickly.

Raising the Hemline

Narrowing it Down

I wanted an interesting, unconventional colour, that might stop people as they walked by.

Raising the Hemline

We settled on an orange tone.

Raising the Hemline

Raising the Hemline

Results

We performed a showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week’s SS ’15 opening gala, that is usually reserved for designers who have runway collections during the week.

After our showcase, several fashion designers have approached us to become affiliates.

Raising the Hemline

Raising the Hemline

We plan to bring this public art display around the world, and eventually resource 5 fashion designers who otherwise would not have the opportunity, to come to a fashion week in North America.

I have learned a lot throughout developing this movement; from the building blocks of throwing a street event (applying for a permit, etc) to

We are excited for what is to come.