Swindells, Steve and Burcikova, Mila (2013) Rusted Designs: The New Apron. In: Making Futures III, 25th September 2013, Plymouth College of Art, UK.

Articulated as a practice of design-couture, conceptualized as a project that seeks a sense
of social engagement through research, design and making of everyday ‘common couture’,
Rusted puts craft action in a very close relation with daily (political) or practical life. Rusted
designs collage pre-used fabric and clothing (found, bought or gifted) with new cloth, thus
using items of fabric and clothing from different times, countries and with variety of social
histories. This collaged sensibility and the act of sewing becomes a way of thinking about the
different ways in which clothing is made and how styles change in respect to technology,
economics, fashion, business and social change.
For Making Futures 2013 Rusted will present a series of new apron designs. Rusted is
particularly interested in the apron as a fashion garment, perceived as an interlayer (an
interface) between the private and public self, between work-craft and leisure, between work
wear and urban chic, and between universal overall and individual identity. We conceive of
the new apron as an entire way of thinking and being, enabling a review of definitions and
conventions of fashion.
Appropriately designed as an over-garment, the apron is a symbol of interconnectedness,
possessing a sense of flow between daily life and work, fluidity between work-wear to
evening-wear, fluidity between men‘s wear and women‘s wear and ultimately fluidity
between art, craft and society. The power of the apron, flexible in terms of practicality and
symbolically (as a notional protective garment), potentially lies in its capacity to enable the
wearer to adorn more expensive clothes at work, home and at leisure – the apron protects
the wearer’s clothes from stains, stresses and abrasions. To only wash and replace the
apron may also have an ecological role to play in reducing the number of clothes one needs
and of reducing the number of washes of many clothes at high temperatures (Fletcher 2008,
Flint 2011).
Taking inspiration from a variety of references, including traditional folk costumes, pit brow
lass dress or the work of contemporary designers such as Martin Margiela or Teresa Martin,
Rusted aims to animate the discussion on tradition vs. innovation in fashion and contribute to
the current debate on the role of functionality, storytelling and emotional attachment to
textiles in extending the lifecycle of clothing.

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