Chaos Creators: Designing Clothing About the Environmental Crisis

Presenter: Meryl Prendergast

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
College: College of Arts Media & Design
Major(s): Theatre
Student Type: Undergraduate
Graduation Date: 2022
Award Winner Category: Humanities and Arts

In the fall of 2020, I drove 10,000 miles from coast to coast in an RV designing a clothing line about the United States environmental crisis. My goal was to capture the beauty of the US landscape, but also all the ways in which mankind has hurt the environment. I designed a 24 look collection that can be broken down into 4 mini collections based on four regions I visited: the ocean, the desert, the grasslands, and the forest. I am a Photojournalism minor, so I took my own photographs and used them to create textile designs for my project, making my collection new and innovative. I found inspiration for each look based on my own lived experiences being on the road, and from the stories of the people I met along the way. We are constantly being bombarded by facts and statistics about climate change, to the point that we are numb to it. Art is one of the few ways that we can break through the noise and connect the viewer back to the subject matter emotionally. What better way to explore climate change art than to use fashion as the avenue, an industry that is one of the biggest contributors to this crisis?