Let's forget about the divides and uncertainty in our world for a little while, and make some art together. For One Dress I will be combining my many years of experience in sustainable textiles and manufacture, skills as a couturier and allegiance to the feminist cause - striving for equality for all people. One Dress, over the next year will become a beautiful handcrafted couture red-carpet gown, embroidered with thousands of words.
One Dress is for all of us. Inspired by suffrage era dress design and symbolism, it will be embroidered with YOUR words that together represent the collective story of women. It embodies unity and solidarity, hope and optimism.
One Dress will become a historic museum piece to be worn by inspiring women around the world. One Dress gives a voice
and speaks to all women, symbolising the journey from oppression to equality - and can be owned by all as an inspiring force for feminism.
One Dress fights fast fashion. Embracing the traditions of couture, hand-crafting and embroidery. Not to be discarded in landfill but cherished and loved forever, as a piece of wearable heirloom artwork.
One Dress travels - to empower female artisans across developing countries so they know that we all share similar experiences.
Be part of its production and provenance. Be part of women's history. Choose your own word or words, answering "What is feminism?" - to be embroidered on the dress.
I am making just one dress. I have spent my career making dresses, initially A LOT of dresses, more than the world needs. Now I only make dresses to order, bespoke gowns of high value and immense beauty - no waste, just what each customer wants.
One Dress will be stitched in the UK using sustainable fabrics, it will be embroidered with vintage and organic yarns with your words - initially in my London studio, then in India and Africa by women from fair trade co-operatives. This dress will affect the lives of many women around the world bringing all of us together.
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 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 will be unveiled at the FiLiArt private view on December 9th. The theme of this show is "Refuge". In many ways dresses have been my refuge, I hope One Dress can offer refuge, in one form or another, to all the people involved in it's creation. By first showing the dress in it's pre-embellished state I hope to allow spectators and contributors the chance to appreaciate the time, skill and energy involved in elaborating such an artwork.
Some of the money collected from this project will be used to pay for the costs of exhibiting at the FiLiArt show, ensuring vital funds for this exciting feminist art showcase.
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.
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 will also be asking a range of women who inspire me to wear this dress and to be photographed in it. From rule breakers, to mothers, to actresses, to writers. If you have any suggestions of who could wear the dress, please tweet me @HouseOfTammam with #OneDress
I have estimated the minimum cost to successfully realise the first part of this project will be £4,000.
- 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
- Showcasing costs - £300
- Photo shoots - £500
- Crowdfunder and card fees will be about £400 (backing larger rewards lowers this as every transaction has a 20pence fee as well as a comission)
The Arts Council England will back this project with a pledge of £1000. (This will be added when £1000 is reached).
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]
- The “naked” dress will be unveiled at the FiLiArt showcase on 9th December. I am offering backers an exclusive opportunity to be at it’s unveiling at the FiLiArt private view. [£50]
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 will be sent in time for Christmas and make wonderful gifts for Mothers, Daughters and Sisters!
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.
This funding will support the creation and initial 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 and wonderful Tammam Brides; Sophie, Jossy & Cat, Sameera
This project has been approved for funding through the Artists + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 25% towards its fundraising target from Arts Council England.