‘ClOak’ reflects on the importance of biodiversity and specifically that which is supported by indigenous hard wood trees within an ecosystem. It is made out of fabric that has been painted with the shadows of tree branches. As the elongated promenading style coat is worn in the woods it gathers debris from the leaf litter on the woodland floor, that clings to an under felt that lines the train, dragging with it a series of tails that list the hundreds species that can inhabit an oak tree. With this knowledge of how much life the British Oak can support in our temperate climate we can get a sense of how great the indigenous hard wood trees of the tropical rainforest are whose species count is in the thousands.
Using a garment in a performance or as a piece of art dictates the context for the human figure. This language of Clothing can be universally interpreted: often conveying identity. Clothing as art requires manipulation, stretching, redesigning and altering, moving away from the conventions of clothing and offering a dialogue for the disobedient.
‘ClOak’ reinterprets a practical garment, a promenading coat, worn by Victorian middle and upper class ladies as industrialisation brought prosperity and wealth to the UK, but also accelerated the process of the human consumption of the natural world. So we now find ourselves, as William Morris and others feared, staring into the face of environmental disaster.
We are recreating landscapes as a consequence of our political leaders’ apathy towards the environment, high-lighting the absolute importance for disobedience towards these present political conventions.