The dress, made from a worn-out tent and lit with reams of Met office data, stands at St Pancras International train station in London as part of an effort to communicate the future effects of climate change to the public en route to Europe.
It is the first installation from a portfolio of work called Dress For Our Time by artist and designer Helen Storey MBE, who uses fashion to draw attention to major world issues. Ahead of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, her choice of location – St Pancras’ International Eurostar terminus – is no coincidence. She hopes many of the delegates passing through the station will come face to face with the world’s first digital couture dress.
The data, lit by an LED display, is extracted from a major study by a team of climate scientists, led by Dr Lila Warszawski, researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The study was built on models by the UK Met Office and though the dress is independent to the scientific results, it includes images of how the planet may look in 2084 if nothing is done to mitigate global warming.
The dress fabric – originally a tent donated by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, gives the piece ‘an unbreakable bond to humanity,’ says Storey, ‘and represents the importance of nurturing and protecting all people and safeguarding generations to come. I wanted it to be a powerful symbol of what it means to be human amidst the precarious nature of our existence’.
Wendy Spinks, Commercial Director of HS1 (the company that own St Pancras International) says ‘we’re proud to provide a pertinent backdrop for the Dress For Our Time which we hope will inform and encourage debate surrounding our collective responsibility to affect change where there is opportunity to do so’.