SISTERS Collection 2019
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Fashion & Textiles
John Slade: Graphic designer; National College of Art and Design (team)
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
For Autumn/Winter 2019 the label partnered with the United Nations Population Fund on a collaborative SISTERS collection. The title SISTERS was influenced by the powerful bonds existing between women and girls in our contemporary global society and the partnership emphasised the importance of sisterhood in times of rapid and turbulent social change. Working with a team of skilled artisan craftspeople, the work introduced handcraft techniques that have been passed down through generations of Irish women, from mother to daughter over the years. Traditional female-centric needlework, weaving, stitching, Carrickmacross lace, embroidery, hand knits were used to create original, intricate and beautiful clothing. These unique fabric treatments were all developed and created at my studio in Dublin. The mainline was supported by a capsule collection of printed scarves, hoodies, sweaters and T- shirts, all sustainably and ethically produced in organic cottons. 10% of all profits went directly to the UNFPA.
How the brief was fulfilled
In 2018, I met with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, to discuss a collaboration. The partnership with the NATALIEBCOLEMAN label offered the opportunity, through the medium of fashion, for a focused and widely transferrable message to reach a growing audience of influential people, while cultivating non-traditional modes of communication in the socio-cultural sphere. The collaboration between the UNFPA and NATALIEBCOLEMAN produced a fashion collection and imagery that reflected and promoted the UNFPA mandate and increased the visibility of its work and goals to a new sphere of stakeholders that contributed to fundraising efforts and awareness-raising. The strengths of this new ‘non-traditional’ partnership was an opportunity to reach new audiences and promote the work of UNFPA through communicating its mandate in a unique and public format.
NATALIEBCOLEMAN’s creative inspiration for the SISTERS collection came from a deep engagement with the indispensable work of UNFPA, the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency. UNFPA is working to meet the critical need for family planning, to prevent maternal deaths and to end harmful practices against women and girls.
The collection symbolised the collaborative power of sisterhood: the coming together of women to mobilise and build the support systems required to fulfil the pledge of the ICPD – the promise of rights and choices for all.
To achieve sexual and reproductive rights and choices for all, conversations must happen everywhere – in homes, at schools, at work and among friends. Fashion is everywhere, and it promotes choices and individual expression. This is why UNFPA decided to join forces with NATALIEBCOLEMAN to utilize the broad appeal of the fashion industry to help spread the message of universal sexual and reproductive rights. Today, the UNFPA mandate is more relevant than ever, and fashion helps to bring it into the homes and hearts of people. The collection symbolises the collaborative power of sisterhood: the coming together of women to mobilise and build support systems – to fulfil the promise of rights and choices for all.
The creation of one off unique fabrics and textiles such as knittedmotifs and lacemaking takes traditional skills and reinventsthem for a modern era whilst also employing local artisan makers is to be commended"