Our Story

Although the Dazzle Collective can be seen as a design probe, it was born out of a necessity. To set the scene, we must explain the background of the project. The Dazzle Collective is an offshoot of DAZZLE – a Mixed-Reality Costume Ball – a collaboration between two artistic studios – Peut-Porter and Gibson Martelli. The DAZZLE project bridges visual art and performance via Virtual Reality and live motion capture and combines them with fashion, materiality, and tactile lived experiences. The original Dazzle Ball – the historical event that inspired the project – took place in 1919 and celebrated the famous black-and-white Dazzle pattern. Bold Geometric shapes painted on ships were designed to confuse the enemy during WWI and created cultural responses in the arts, fashion, and music. We – the artists, choreographers, and designers of the project – see the visual confusion created by the Dazzle pattern as a reference to our current confusion about the contested concept of multiple realities posed by immersive technology.
Confronted with the flamboyant and illustrious costumes we found scattered through the illustrations of the original Dazzle Ball that were made by the audiences themselves, we invited creators from around the world to co-make and co-design outfits with us. These dress the audiences of DAZZLE for the duration of their visit to the installation. To create commonality rather than uniformity, but most importantly to ensure usability for any size and shape of audiences that are to wear the outfits, we decided on a set of principles for this co-design process. We also established that all participating creators are supplied with a generatively produced and therefor unique print-design and 2.5 meters of printed fabric that are to be fully used. Hardware can be added as per need from each participant.

‘Maybe it is the longing for togetherness, for an out of breath evening where we stumble and dance and hold hands – an ecstatic and rebellious moment where we will feel and sense sounds, bodies, ruffling of coats and the clicking of heels. Perhaps it is our confinement that has brought us to nuance and build up, to zoom in and scale up simultaneously. ‘
Alexa Pollmann, DAZZLE

DAZZLE has always seen the physical experience, embodied in performance and fashion to be of the essence – which seems most apparent if you are to revive a costume ball. But how and when would our audiences dress up? Could we demand that they make their costumes? Could we prescribe that they come to the experience dressed in geometric shapes and dazzling outfits?

To dress our audiences allows us to be true to the actual event to ensure our vision of DAZZLE, where the stage dissolves and the audience dives into and becomes one with the artwork.

We invite designers from Bangladesh, Germany, Rwanda, Singapore and the UK to respond to an open call to contribute and co-design the outfits for the DAZZLE audience together with us. We gave presentations, designed prints, supplied fabrics and held co-design sessions with each of the contributors. Now, we have fifty garments following a simple set of rules that will be accessible to wear for the audience of DAZZLE when visiting the experience, the ball, or the larger exhibition. What’s more we intend to release the garment designs including the lay plan in order for the pieces to be reproduced at home and with no extra cost, open source alongside information about their designers and the design processes. In doing so, we aim to achieve something simple yet challenging to grasp: a representation of fashion that is inclusive and accessible for all, with a non-euromerican focus. And while confinement has forced nearly all of us into purely virtual collaboration, it in turn allowed us and our DAZZLE Collective partners (design practitioners and students from all over the globe) to share our work on audience costumes, and be part of the project without being in the same space. It also meant that the time we originally planned to launch DAZZLE had not only been prolonged, but changed into an unknown. Allowing for this big experiment of co-creation and co-design to take place. Our first connections with designers from the countries listed above have been invaluable; it is fair to say that we have extracted and learned even more about our project in the process. We are keen to see the Collective evolve into what we hope to be a set of programmes, focussing on the chance to share and combine skills and knowledge.

And while confinement has forced nearly all of us into purely virtual collaboration, it in turn allowed us and our DAZZLE Collective partners (design practitioners and students from all over the globe) to share our work on audience costumes, and be part of the project without being in the same space. It also meant that the time we originally planned to launch DAZZLE had not only been prolonged, but changed into an unknown. Allowing for this big experiment of co-creation and co-design to take place. 

Our first connections with designers from the countries listed above have been invaluable; it is fair to say that we have extracted and learned even more about our project in the process. We are keen to see the Collective evolve into what we hope to be a set of programmes, focussing on the chance to share and combine skills and knowledge. 

THE DAZZLE COLLECTIVE RULES

To join the DAZZLE Collective, contributors design and produce one garment to be worn in the DAZZLE exhibition – following a simple set of requirements:

  • Use the zero-waste cutting pattern principle
  • Use 2.5 metres of DAZZLE printed fabric for creation.
  • One size fits all.
  • One co-design meeting with the DAZZLE team.
  • Garment pattern is released open source on the DAZZLE Collective Website. 
  • The DAZZLE Collective platform showcases Designer, Research and Work. 
  • For Everyone.

     

The Goal: Five Continents. One collection.