This year I want to make just one dress. My career has been about making dresses, initially A LOT of dresses, more than the world needs. Now my studio only make dresses to order, bespoke gowns of high value and immense beauty - no waste, just what each customer wants.
One Dress has been stitched in the UK using sustainable fabrics, it is being embroidered with vintage and organic yarns with words contributed by people from around the world - initially in my London studio, then in India and Kenya by women from fair trade co-operatives. This dress will affect the lives of many women globally, bringing all of us together.
What’s a dress got to do with feminism?
A dress can make a woman feel powerful and confident, this dress with all it's history and meaning stitched across it will encourage and provoke it's wearers and viewers to use their voice for women.
Feminism to me is just the belief that men and women should be treated as equal. It means different things to different people.
I am asking the people who back this project “What is feminism”?
I have chosen five words
Equality | Respect | Emancipation | Solidarity | Sisterhood
I welcome other suggestions - You may choose your own word* or one of mine.
I have just added the word Love - at the suggestion of my daughter and a few wonderful women during International Women's Day.
I also welcome ideas for feminist quotes and sentences like “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” ― Cheris Kramarae or “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” ― George Carlin.
Who does it affect?
The design is based on the silhouette of the suffragette style, a nod of respect to our fore-sisters who protested, sacrificed, fought and died to allow women to vote. Updated with translucent fabrics and modern detailing.
- Hand crafted by skilled seamstresses at Atelier Tammam.
- The embroidery is created in the suffragette colour violet (which stood for "votes"), reinterpreted to stand for "voice", using their idea of secret messages the word-embroidery will be created to look like an intricate pattern until up close.
- The words on the dress will be chosen by people around the world, anyone can sponsor or suggest a word for a small contribution to the project cost.
- Skilled women around the world will be paid fairly to embroider on the dress.
The "naked" dress was unveiled at the FiLiArt private view on December 9th. I hope to allow spectators and contributors the chance to appreaciate the time, skill and energy involved in elaborating such an artwork by showcasing it at different stages of it's creation.
The beauty of One Dress will speak to women who don't identify as feminists, it's messages will speak to those who do. It's provenance offers security to those who create it and comfort to those who contribute towards it. It's story will inspire and it's history will be remembered.
Who will wear this dress?
Strong, incredible, wonderful women.
A limited number of rewards are available for women (or men, trans or non-binary people) to have the opportunity to wear this dress. Perhaps for your wedding, a feminist rally or at event where you want to stand out.
I have asked women who inspire me to wear the dress and to be photographed in it. Confirmed to wear the dress so far are two incredible women
Meg Hine - Adventurer extraordinaire
Lisa-Marie Taylor - Radical Feminist and FiLiA co-ordinator
If you have any suggestions of who should wear the dress, from rule breakers, to mothers, to actresses, to writers please tweet me @HouseOfTammam with #OneDress
How much is it going to cost?
In December 2016 I successfully crowdfunded for the initial part of the project, raising over £4000 in just two and a half weeks, including Arts Council support of £1000 to create the dress and start the embroidery. This money has been / will be spent on;
- Materials - cloth £200, thread £40, needles £10
- Design time - £200
- Making costs - £800
- Studio costs - £300
- Embroidery costs UK - Approx 250 words £1250
- Web page / recording words £100
- PR and media - £300
- FiLiArt Showcasing costs - £300
- Photo shoots - £500
- Crowdfunder and card fees and VAT came to £250
I want this dress to reach every corner of the world. I plan to travel with the dress (and my daughter) to places where women are hugely disadvantaged and pay them fair wages to embroider One Dress dress. I have agreed to work with amazing fair trade stitching units in India and Kenya (As well as exploring others to work with), each unit will do 300-500 words and the remainder will be finished back in my studio in London. This new target should also mean I collect enough wonderful words to fill the whole skirt. When the dress is complete it will be photographed on a range of incredible women (the cost of photography has been raised already by previous funding). I will then tour the dress and photographs to feminist gatherings, womens events and art showcases - ensuring the message and story of the dress is seen by as many people as possible.
I have estimated the minimum cost to successfully realise the second part of this project and finish the dress will be £6,000.
- Travel costs India £700
- Embroidery costs International (fair / above living wage) Approx 300 - 500 words £800
- Travel costs Kenya £900
- Embroidery costs International (fair / above living wage) Approx 300 - 500 words £800
- Final Embroidery costs UK - Approx 250 words £1250
- Artist costs - recording journey, working with artisans, drawing the words - £400
- Finishing in UK £150
- Additional PR £200
- Admin and registry £100
- Showcasing costs UK - finished dress and photograhs £350
- Crowdfunder Fees will be around £350
The Arts Council England will back this project with a pledge of £3000. (This will be added when £3000 is reached).
What do you get for supporting One Dress?
I have a range of rewards for backers of this project.
- Make history by sponsoring words to be embroidered on the dress. An email will be sent to ask for your words when the crowdfunder is complete (sorry there isn't an option to add it now)[From £2 for part of a word to £150 for a sentence]
- Be one of the few people who will get to wear the dress. [£500]
- Own a fabulous handkerchief or scarf, with your choice of words, embroidered in the same style as the dress by artisans who will be paid and treated fairly (working with WFTO certified units in India and Africa). [£35 to £135]
- Come to a sewing workshop. Reclaim the power to make your clothes last longer, learn to sew on a button or mend a hole, and if you’re feeling brave enough embroider your own word onto the dress (with guidance!) [£40]
- Join me for a glamourous cocktail in London to hear all about the project. [£45]
- Donate a word for a woman without means [£10, or £20 with the word "Love"]
Everyone who pledges will be kept up to date on the progress and whereabouts (so you can come and see it in real life) of the dress.
- Receive images of the women who embroider it and inspirational women wearing it.
- Come to a reveal party in London when the dress is finished.
- See your name (or dedication) next to your word/s on the One Dress webpage.
If you are dedicating a word for someone as a gift, you can be sent a One Dress Dedication printable PDF certificate on request. These make wonderful gifts for Mothers, Daughters and Sisters! If you would like a certificate in time for Mother's day please send a message.
This dress is a part of women’s history, after it has been worn it will be preserved and displayed so that it can inform and inspire future generations. Be part of that history too.
Read more about One Dress at Tammam.co.uk/onedress
EVERYONE is welcome to buy any of the rewards and people of any gender are welcome at all events / workshops. People of any gender may request to wear the dress. I can not guarantee the dress will fit but my incredible team of seamstresses will adjust it to fit any body shape (sizing information available in the reward box) as best as we can. As a tailor with a fitted aesthetic it is impossible to make one dress to fit all sizes. If there is demand, I will be delighted to make more dresses in larger or smaller sizes.
This funding will support the majority of the embroidery on the dress, I will keep fundraising throughout the project until the dress is fully embroidered with words from women across the world. I aim to have the dress completed by November 2017.
* Please note, this is a positive project, I will not write hateful or negative words on the dress. I may ask for an explanation of words if I do not understand how they are relevant to this project.
Images (c) Tammam / Justin Lambert / Ash Jones / Susan Merrick and wonderful Tammam Brides; Sophie, Jossy & Cat, Sameera
This project has been approved for funding through the Artists + The Crowd match funding. If this project reaches 50% of its initial target it will automatically receive the final 50% from Arts Council England.