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Dress For Our Time at the Science Museum unites data and fashion to explore global migration

Dress For Our Time, by award-winning artist and designer Helen Storey MBE RDI (London College of Fashion, UAL Centre for Sustainable Fashion), 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 delve 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 will be used to visualise the refugee crisis and demonstrate its true human element, through a striking animation that will be projected onto the dress itself using 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 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.”

Opening on Wednesday 17 August 2016, Dress For Our Time will run alongside the Science Museum’s Our Lives In Data exhibition, which opens on Friday 15 July 2016 and investigates the rapidly evolving role of big data in all our lives and how it is being used to transform the world around us.

*Data taken from the UNHCR Global Trends Report released on 20 June 2016. All information on this report can be found here.

ENDS

For further information and images please contact:

Science Museum: Heather Morris, 0207 942 4364 / heather.morris@sciencemuseum.ac.uk
London College of Fashion: Melissa Langlands, 020 7514 2998 / m.langlands@fashion.arts.ac.uk
Holition: Fiona Spence, 0207 583 9203 / fiona.spence@holition.com
UNHCR: Laura Padoan, padoan@unhcr.org

Notes to Editors

About Dress For Our Time

Over two years in the making, Helen has brought together collaborators from very different backgrounds including Holition, Unilever, Met Office, UNHCR and now the Science Museum, to explore ways to engender a public debate about the most critical of questions, and uses the power of fashion and collaboration to investigate the big global issues of our time. This will be only the second time that Dress For Our Time has been available to view as a public art installation since the launch of the project in 2015, when the dress used Met Office data to illustrate climate change and was installed at St Pancras International train station, the gateway to Paris, to coincide with the UN Climate Change conference COP21.

About the Science Museum

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum's world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement.

About London College of Fashion

London College of Fashion, part of University of the Arts London, is a world leader in fashion design, media and business education. We have been nurturing creative talent for over a century, offering courses in all things fashion, with over 70 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and 165 short courses. Across every subject, we encourage our students to examine the past and challenge the present. To have inventive, assertive ideas that challenge social and political agendas. We give students the skills, opportunities—and above all, the freedom—to put those ideas into practice.

About The Helen Storey Foundation

The Helen Storey Foundation is an award-winning London-based, not-for-profit arts organisation—inspiring new ways of thinking across art, science, design and technology—and custodian and producer of many of Helen Storey’s social art works.

About Holition

Holition is an award-winning and innovative creative agency using emerging technology to create intelligent and beautiful digital experiences that bridge the gap between technology and retail. An artistic approach to the design of technology sets Holition apart, working with some of the most recognisable brands, deploying and supporting projects all around the world. Holition has crafted premium 3D digital experiences for a growing network of pioneering digital luxury organisations including Richemont, LVMH, Swatch Group, Lacoste and Kering.

About UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)

UNHCR has been protecting the rights and well-being of refugees all over the world for over 65 years, working to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.