Rebel Tartan Project
Now in its second year, the Rebel Tartan Project (RTP) is a collaboration between Liberation Kilt Co, the Ethical Fashion Forum, Bute Fabrics and top UK art and design programmes. What began with an email to Juliana Sissons, lecturer and Fashion Designer-in-Residence at the V&A Museum, has blossomed into an exciting design competition in which student teams design striking woven, knitted and printed fabrics to raise awareness and inspire people to take action on a chosen social issue.
Exhibit A: Groveling email that paid off handsomely
Sent: 10 March 2013
To: Juliana Sissons
Subject: Strange and unusual
Dear Ms. Sissons,
I was fascinated to read about your pioneering pattern-cutting methods in this weekend’s FT, and upon further investigation was delighted to learn you’re drawn to the “strange and unusual”. Speaking of which, I’ve designed, registered and patented a range of political tartans which you can view at liberationkilt.co.
I’m writing to let you know of my interest in funding a student design project in the next year or so. Design is not my area of expertise and I’m acutely aware of the need to work with knowledgeable, forward-thinking professionals to move this project forward.
If this is something you or one of your colleagues might be interested in exploring, please let me know!
Thank you so much for your time.
During the 2016 and 2017 competitions, students at the University of Brighton, Nottingham Trent University and Manchester School of Art focused their creative energies on the theme of human trafficking, the fastest growing international crime. Why bother with drugs, reason the cold-hearted traffickers, when humans provide a ready and renewable resource? The students’ work has inspired a new collection of anti-trafficking prints (now in the works). More universities are joining in 2018. The theme for next year’s competition is yet to be decided.
Winning teams receive a complementary 1-year membership of the Ethical Fashion Forum and a few lucky students have obtained placements at Bute Fabrics. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of fabric and other goods will go to participating university departments, for whom project funding (for supplies, student field research etc) is always a challenge. In addition, all participating students and tutors now receive a signed certificate from Sir Loftus McLeod of Skye, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Note: in case your Latin is a bit rusty, the inscription on his coat of arms means: ‘do not bear the injustices of the arrogant scoundrels’.
To get a good feel for the project from the student’s point of view, spend some time visiting the blogs of this year’s winning team at the Manchester School of Art, Zaiton Lamat, Rose Brown, Ben Simm and Jack Lloyd.