If We Let It

A graphic banner + blanket to be used at climate protests.

Fleece + Mylar
I made this project in a fashion design class as a response to the prompt, “Design an object to be used in the fight of nature versus the artificial.”

Project Background

To me, the fight of “nature versus the artificial” meant nature versus climate change, especially in the context of protests, which provide a direct means to create change. Based on this, I sought to design an object to help protesters take direct action safely and peacefully.

I decided that the object should be
  1. Non-violent.
  2. Able to convey a message.
  3. Wearable.

I chose a blanket, as it covered all of the abov criteria and could bring people together to sit down or huddle up. They also have a long history of being used to spread information, like in the above photo of The Greenham Common Women demonstrating against nuclear proliferation with protest quilts between 1981 and 2000. (Photo from Alamy)  

Further Criteria

After choosing a blanket as my object, I needed to define more specific criteria and do research to find precedents that fit those criteria.

  1. The blanket should have a peaceful, disarming appearance.
  2. The message on the blanket should be straightforward, avoid sensationalism, and not incite violence.
  3. The blanket should protect its user from the elements.

I was inspired mainly by two precedents with seemingly opposite aesthetics. The NAACP flag was relevant for its serious message and clear presentation (Photo from NAACP site), and I was drawn to Henri Matisse’s work for its inviting shapes which could calm a viewer. (Photo from MoMA Online Collection)

After the Research

After completing my initial research, I began image-making. This largely involved using the calming shapes of Matisse combined with the NAACP flag’s powerful typography and clear messaging. I used curved shapes for a disarming effect. These shapes are actually the borders of countries that will disappear under rising seas within 50 years if climate change continues on its current path.
Further, instead of using the typical “green” branding of environmentalism, I experimented with a more
energizing color palette. (Palette from coolors.co)

Final Blanket

Above is the final product, with its features noted.