World Clothes for Equal Dignity

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

Please see an article by Koichi Nagashima on what he calls a glocal approach to developing culture throughout the world. This article is written for architecture, however, it applies equally to other cultural realms.

We look for interested people, who would like to develop our WClothesED project.
Please see our Call for Creativity.

These are the ideas for collections that have been developed by Evelin Lindner since 1975:

African (Indonesian-Dutch-Global) Collection

Japanese Collection

Thai Collection

Chinese Collection

The following collections are not yet developed:
Indonesia | India | Gulf | Jordan | Egypt | South America | Norway | Others
List of people so far interested in the clothes project

The 2008 economic meltdown showed beyond doubt, and the ongoing climate crisis brings to the forefront continuously, that business practices around the world are in need of being dignified. Current practices tend to have humiliating effects on the world's socio- and biospheres. "Time Out For Fast Fashion Fast," is a call by Greenpeace to change the way we think about clothes. Legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has long railed against fast fashion.

We, as Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) network, wish to contribute to ideas and projects that bring dignity into the world. Several of our ideas aim at developing new ways of transcending contemporary business practices.

We usually begin by asking how fields such as those of fashion, for example, or of design, art, architecture, and so forth, can be dignified and how this can be done in ways that also dignify the very business practices that are applied in the process. To take clothes as an example, we begin our analysis with the observation that the diversity of human cultural styles is not very visible in contemporary daily worn clothes. On the contrary, fashion is dominated by a few centers in the West, and imitated around the world. When we look around today, we all wear more or less the same clothes, Western-designed clothes produced in low-cost countries.

We, as HumanDHS, would like to contribute to changing this situation. We believe that cultural diversity should receive more respect and attention, which, in the case of clothing, means that the diverse cultural heritage in clothing that we find around the world should be valued more and made more visible in daily wear. At the current juncture in history, traditional clothes are typically worn only to festive occasions. We wish to integrate this heritage into future-orientated innovative and creative design for daily use.

Starting about forty years ago, Evelin Lindner began making a collection of clothes that combine materials and styles from different cultures in original ways, thus giving dignity and visibility to the diversity of human clothing styles and embodying cross-cultural fertilization. It is envisioned to give away these clothes for donations. The donations are then envisioned to be fed into the activities of HumanDHS, particularly into research carried out by HumanDHS members (such as the funding of scholarships for doctoral students who study dignity and humiliation). We furthermore envision that the very process of promoting these products reflects our values. For example, we hope to connect the producer of a product with the receiver, as fellow human beings, thus dignifying the process of production, and nurturing global connections. Furthremore, we hope to offer our products together with information about personal cases where humiliation has been diminished and dignity increased.

In this way a full circle is being performed: We start out from the idea of equality in dignity for all, then we envision developing products that express this idea, and we wish to promote these products in ways that express our values, and finally we close the circle by having the revenue feed back into research on the idea.

Our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project is part of our quest to build bridges from social science to other areas of life.

An important point for HumanDHS is to deconstruct tradition, in this case traditional clothes design. We do not wish to accept everything as it is. Many aspects do not bolster our aim - equal dignity for all. Chinese footbinding is a drastic example of how women were intentionally mutilated and handicapped in order to fit into an image of feminity as cuteness and helplessness. We do not wish to preserve those aspects of tradition. Many clothes for women, both traditional and modern, carry "footbinding" aspects, in contrast to clothing made for males. Women typically can not breathe freely or walk forcefully. Corsets created a wasp waist that made women almost faint, Japanese kimonos and to a certain extent also Chinese qipaos have similar effects and hinder free movement, as do many modern clothes. Modern shoes make women walk in ways that signal fragility. Feminine beauty, elegance, and decency are conceptualized, in ways of méconnaissance and naturalization (Barthes, Bourdieu, Foucault), as lack of forcefulness. We wish to encourage women to opt for new definitions of beauty and elegance, definitions that lend them strength and power.

Clearly, future-oriented design entails more than just design. It means also awareness for fair trade, respect for the people who produce products, in this case clothes, and more personalized relationships between products and users.

Starting about 30 years ago, Evelin Lindner began to make clothes from materials she found around the world. She has subsequently developed a collection of clothes that combine materials and styles from different cultures in original ways, thus embodying cross-cultural fertilization. She always received ample attention when wearing her unique clothes, indicating, that seemingly, not only she, but many people around the world yearn for more diversity in clothing styles and for a greater variety of opportunities to express onself in distinctively individual and cultural ways. See her prototypes further down!

HumanDHS envisions to make copies of the prototypes for interested people and give them away for donations that fund HumanDHS's research activities. We wish to engage in building the Fourth Sector also in our work. On the website of the Fourth Sector Network this is explained as follows: "Over the past few decades, the boundaries between the public (government), private (business), and social (non-profit) sectors have been blurring as many pioneering organizations have been blending social and environmental aims with business approaches. There are many expressions of this trend, including corporate social responsibility, microfinance, venture philanthropy, sustainable businesses, social enterprise, privatization, community development and others. As this activity matures, it is becoming formalized as a ‘Fourth Sector’ of the economy." See also KaosPilots.

Each copy is envisioned to be personalized in a unique way and linked to information about cases where humiliation has been diminished successfully and with respect (thanks to Dan Braha for his creative input; as medium the quick chip might serve, currently developed by the Memory Spot research team at HP). The donations will be fed into the research activities of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, such as the funding of scholarships for doctoral students.

Since Lindner's first ideas evolved about 30 years ago, she has discussed them with people in all parts of the world and from various cultural backgrounds. In these discussions, people have reflected on the complicated task ahead for humankind, namely to work for equal dignity for all people on the planet (this is the core message of Human Rights), and at the same time for less cultural sameness and more cultural diversity. Currently, globalization typically means but Westernization, the result being a rather uniform Westernized world where cultural diversity is being lost. Respect for the dignity of cultural varieties and local solutions is wanting. The complicated task at hand is to work for more egality (Lindner's word for equal dignity), and less sameness.

Brigite Pages wrote down the following (2004, Tokyo): "L'universel est constitué de particulier, l'universalité de particularité. Comme l'univers de particules. Uniforme = forme unique, à l'intérieur des différences des cultures particulieres."

Everything on one pole...
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk,
Please click on the picture to see more.

Everything on a hall tree...
The picture is taken by Evelin Frerk,
Please click on the picture to see more.

African (Indonesian-Dutch-Global) Collection

Japanese Collection

Thai Collection

Chinese Collection

The following collections are not yet developed:

Indonesia | India | Gulf | Jordan | Egypt | South America | Norway | Others

List of people contributing to our clothes project


From left: Please meet Liu in Shanghai (April 2006), and the Abbas Higazi factory in Cairo (January 2007), or Conytex at Sekem (January 2007), potential links to tailors for our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project.
Please click in the middle of the pictures to see them larger.

December 7, 2007, discussing our World Clothes for Equal Dignity idea with Zuzka!
Zuzka confirmed that we need to educate people to respect the richness of knowledge and skill that flows into many handmade products, particularly those that honor long artistic traditions.
Please click on the picture above to see it larger.

In 1981, when Evelin Lindner worked in Bangkok as a medical student, she was in awe at the abundance of hand-made silk. Many years later, in 2014, upon returning to the region, she was devastated to see the degree of cultural impoverishment. Clearly, mass production from China had destroyed a rich tradition. Everywhere on the globe, Evelin observes a dramatic decline in the quality of products, or the disappearance of products altogether, products that were still ubiquitous a few years earlier. She sighs, 'Where has the Thai silk gone that was once sold at every corner? Why is Thai silk just one example of many? Why am I surrounded by mass produced quasi-waste instead, stuff that nobody really needs and that is poisoned with a variety of toxins? Why do we, the human family, sacrifice the recourses of our planet for such an absurdity?'
On 28th March 2014, Evelin had noticed the Asia Craft Centre on the Road to Angkor Wat. She stopped by and admired the women making silk at the entrance. When she entered, she learned that the shop was owned by a group of Kashmiri families, who had shops all over Asia. Once again, she received a confirmation that silk is being replaced by cheap mass-produced synthetic fabric from China and is now too expensive to produce. Thai silk is no longer made, she was told. In Thailand, Jim Thompson no longer sells silk made in Thailand, but made in China. The last rest of authentic silk production is in Kashmir, she learned.
On 30th March 2014, Evelin made a renewed attempt to inquire about hand-made silk and whether it is still being produced at all, and if yes, where. She learned that Takeo had been the largest silk producer in Cambodia in the past and continued being active.
See the videos Evelin created (please note that they are not professionally done and are unedited):
• 12 Angkor, Cambodia: Asia and the Loss of Its Silk - Takeo, 30th March 2014
• 05 Angkor, Cambodia: Asia and the Loss of Its Silk - Another Sad Confirmation, 28th March 2014

On 30th April 2010, in the context of the 2010 Dignity Conference in Istanbul, Linda Hartling, her husband Rick, and Evelin discussed the decline of the quality of products with Nebil Basmaci in the Covered Bazaar. Basmaci shared his views on dignity — or rather the lack of dignity — caused by he profit-orientation of contemporary economic arrangements.

Ivona Celebicic
In August 2016, the dress that Evelin made in 1981 (see the photo on the left side) was copied in Sarajevo (on the right side). Evelin reported: 'In 1981, I worked as a medical student in Bangkok, and was overjoyed to see the streets filled with silk shops. I bought some silk and designed and made the dress you see on the left photo taken in 2014. In 2014, when I was back in Thailand, I was devastated to see that modern-day mass production had "killed" the local silk handicraft, as it has done with so many other handicrafts all around the world. Those with means, in all corners of the world, seem to be willing to reduce themselves to crowding their wardrobes with clothes that lack true quality and diversity. The number of colours that is being used in these mass-produced materials is disastrously low. And the poor in Africa, South America, and other parts of the world, are being reduced to digging through heaps of second-hand clothes that people in the Global North have given to "charity" believing that this meant "doing good", even though these clothes are being sold off for profit, finally destroying also the local skill base among the poor'.
On December 7, 2007, Evelin discussed this disaster with Zuzka Kurtz in New York. Zuzka confirmed that we need to educate people to respect the richness of knowledge and skill that flows into many handmade products, particularly those that honour long artistic traditions.
Evelin started to study local fashion styles back in 1974 and created 'cross-over' clothes. In 2016, she wrote: 'Unfortunately, I no longer have time to be my own tailor, and the dress on the left side from 1981 is now very worn and in danger of falling apart and I have to repair it every year. Since I did not find the right material in Thailand nor Cambodia in 2014 to make a good copy, I kept searching in other parts of the world. I was extremely happy to find the right material in the very last corner of the fashion street in New York in December 2015! (Foursquare Favorite, 224 West 40th Street.) I brought this material with me to Sarajevo, where the lovely tailor Senida was so kind, in August 2016, to make a copy of my 1981 dress! See the photo on the right side. Senida is originally from Italy. She became very proud of the "unikat" as she called my dress. Proudly, she put a photo of it up on her Facebook page!'
• Please click on the photo above on the left side to see it larger. Click on the photo on the right side or here to see more pictures of Senida's little atelier in one of the backstreets in the center of Sarajevo.

In November 2016, Evelin's 1981 dress was copied in New York by dear May Cheng!
• Please click on the photos above or here to see more pictures of May's little atelier in Boweri Street in New York's China Town.

In the autumn of 2022, Evelin explored the traditional clothes in Amman, Jordan. She learned that the material comes from Korea, since this is the best quality. The embroideries are done with the help of computers now, which means that a dress that would take a month of a woman's handwork is done in two minutes. There is the Palestinian design that has a slit at the front of the dress, while the Jordanian design is closed in the front, then there is the abaya, which is worn on top of other clothes by women, and the bisht, a cloak for men. 'Bisht cut' being a cloak for women without sleeves. Then there is also the Moroccan caftan, and so forth!
Please click on the picture above to see it larger.
24th November 2022
It was great to stumble over Almorjana المرجانة, and the wonderful creations of fashion designer Ezedeen in the streets of Amman, in Al-Kabartay Street!
• Kindly click on the pictures above or here to see all photos.




Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

How Fast Fashion Fuels Climate Change, Plastic Pollution, and Violence
by Helle Abelvik-Lawson, Greenpeace UK, 22nd September 2023.

Fashion As Activism: Fusing Indigenous Textiles with the Modern World
by Jeffrey Warner in The News Lens International, 9th November 2017. This multimedia piece explores the way that some indigenous people in Taiwan — by weaving the techniques, colors and patterns of their ancestors with modern-style ‘catwalk’ fashion design — are re-invigorating and restoring their millennia-old cultural heritages. ... They are also challenging some assumptions about indigenous peoples and ‘traditional’ ways of life along the way.

Mode schlägt Moral – Wie fair ist unsere Kleidung?
ARD-alpha Doku, D 2016, 45 Min.
Als pakistanische Brandopfer den Discounter Kik verklagen, kommt einmal mehr ans Licht, wie deutsche Firmen in Asien produzieren lassen. Alle sind empört – aber wenn es ums Shoppen geht, interessiert Kunden als Allererstes der Stil, dann der Preis. Was kann die Politik tun, um Herstellung und Handel fairer zu machen?

Body Conscious Design
A project Martha Eddy is consulting with - clothes, furniture, and more from a sustainable and human perspective.

Oda Midtlyng Klempe
"Six months ago, graphic designer Mari Stolan was on her way to meet her business partner, clothing designer Oda Midtlyng Klempe. The pair had founded Norwegian clothing label Solv just three years prior, finding much success providing timeless collections and bucking trend-based fashion cycles. Yet despite their growing popularity among consumers and shareholders alike, Mari was ready to step back from it all and leave the business. "We had become the perfect example of a sustainable business losing its mission in its ambitions to grow," she writes. She didn't quit. Instead, Mari and Oda created something profound and authentic. Instead, they created a slow fashion movement..." [read more]

Karenza T. Wall

global warning

Karenz T. Wall is one of a group of artists who work out of a programme called Enterprising Women Making Art and she is working on a three fold project to be held at EWMA that shares her skills with other women in DTES through three connected workshops - as follows:
a) teaching applique techniques;
b) nologo project - together producing a logo for DTES - screen printed and then shared widely - kind of alternative anti logo, rather like alternative media - challenging the co opting of ethnic cultures by fashion industry
c) making reclaimed clothing via - teaching design basics; making t shitrts ; making skirts and pants - on a make one- sell one basis.
Please click on the picture or here to see more photos. And see Karenza's blog here. See also the Community Arts Council of Vancouver (CACV).

SECOND SKINS: Cloth and Difference

SECOND SKINS: Cloth and Difference 30 April 2009 at Iniva - Institute of International Visual Arts in London, UK.
The Second Skins symposium looks at the way in which clothing is part of expressing our individuality. Like a skin, it protects us, connects us to - or distinguishes us from - one another, and communicates something about our beliefs, values and aspirations. Clothing and cloth can also be seen as a means by which to free oneself from societies’ constraints of social, racial and cultural conformities and hierarchies. Second Skins was instigated by Christine Checinska and is organised in partnership with Iniva with support from Goldsmiths, University of London and A Foundation.
Please click in the middle of the pictures to see them larger. You see on the left side G’nang G’near (photo by Greg Semu, Rosanna Raymond), and on the right side the flyer for the exposition (with a film still from The Nightingale Creative Commona Grace Ndiritu, 2003, on top).

Afghan Designer Zolaykha Sherzad Protests War with New Styles
Zolaykha Sherzad is a 38-year-old Afghan designer living in New York -- but she's not there to escape the war ravaging her country. She's there because she wants to help her fellow Afghans who were victimized by the war...
Please

Clean Clothes Campaign
The CCC is an international campaign, focused on improving working conditions in the global garment and sportswear industries, and empower the workers in it. There is a Clean Clothes Campaign in 11 European countries. These are Austria, Belgium (North and South), France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Established Clean Clothes Campaigns are autonomous coalitions with NGOs (consumer, research, women's, fair trade and youth organisations, solidarity groups, churches, etc) and trade unions as members in European countries, each with a secretariat, and each sending a representative to the European Coordination Meeting. Countries (2008): Austria, Belgium - Flemish-speaking Belgium, Belgium - French and German-speaking Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK.

Dignity Returns
" this place, there is no boss banging over or taking advantage of us. There is no threat and insult. Most importantly, here is our own factory..."
The Solidarity Factory Cooperative was created by former Bed and Bath factory workers. This followed a three-month struggle by workers for payment of money owed to them, following its unexpected closure in October 2002.

Ethical Fashion Show 2007
will take place on OCTOBER 12, 13, 14 and 15 at the Tapis Rouge
Review of the 3rd edition of Ethical Fashion Show 2006:
The venue was predestined for great things : the gold and rich red velvet decor of the Tapis Rouge gave a beautiful setting for the event's mission : showcasing fashion that respects people and the environment but that is also sexy, glamourous, luxurious and trendy
In 3 years, Ethical Fashion Show has become the must see event not only for buyers but also for all those searching for something different.
This third edition welcomed over 4000 visitors including 1500 for the open day. The two runway shows (Friday night's couture and Sunday's Ready to wear/sporstwear) were held in a packed room. The round tables were also very successful with some reaching more than 100 turnout. There were many designers who came from very far (Thailand, Mongolia, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, the USA...) presented unique pieces, using various techiniques, traditional or innovative: pleats, embroidery, dyes, prints, weaving but also recycling and reinterpreting classic designs. This year was rich in innovative materials: bamboo, Lyocell, Lenpur, Pina, corn...
Please

Susan B. Kaiser
The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context