There is a beautiful stunning amazing red dress that won an award this week. It was 12 years in the making and made purposefully to celebrate the makers.
The dress was designed by British Artist Kirstie Macleod (below), who wanted to give marginalised women embroiderers a forum for showcasing their skills, but the dress has taken on more meaning and purpose as it has travelled. Many of the women who contributed to the dress have now found a decent source of income through their recognised and acknowledged skill set, and many found a new pride and self confidence in the telling of their story, and the recognition of their skills.
136 commissioned artisan embroiderers contributed to this dress, they worked collaboratively in 28 different nations. One third of the women who worked on this dress live in a refugee camp, or have survived war or live in extreme poverty.
The embroiderers include "women refugees from Palestine; victims of war in Kosovo, Rwanda, and DR Congo; impoverished women in South Africa, Mexico, and Egypt; women in Kenya, Japan, Paris, Sweden, Peru, Czech Republic, Dubai, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Switzerland, Canada, Tobago, USA, Russia, Pakistan, Wales, Colombia, and the UK, as well as upmarket embroidery studios in India and Saudi Arabia." (quote from 'The Red Dress' )
The designer, Kirstie Macleod, sent 73 pieces of red burgundy coloured silk out in the post. These pieces of the silk have travelled the world, being added to by both new embroiderers, and experienced artisan embroiderers, each in turn adding pieces of their heritage, and their amazing stories, to this beautiful dress.
And now, covered in millions of stitches, and stories of loss and courage and triumph, finally, it is finished.
Every person who worked on this dress received Fair Trade wages for their work.
Isn't life so much richer and more vibrant and colourful and wonderful when none of us seek to dominate or control, but live inclusively and with respect for each others worth and abilities. Just look at this dress, it is a celebration of diversity.
Reference: The Red Dress