Pien Klein Douwel breaks the idea we have about a fashion collection, and shapes her own way of looking at a collection with interactive aspects to her concepts. Her values lead to an educational and social approach of her conceptual design practice. She does not present the collection as an end result but as an ongoing process.
People in closed communities always intrigued the designer. Their seclusion from a dominant culture or society allows them to construct their own realities. Pien Klein Douwel investigates the sustainability, frugality and simple living that is present within these communities. For her last collection she focuses on the process of Rumspringa. This is a period of time in which the Amish youth, around 16 years old, are allowed to explore the world outside of their community, before they become official members of the church. Exploring sexuality and identity within a community is something that always comes back in her work. From her research she picked some of the values that the Amish live by and her 1:4 concept was born.
1:4 – an interactive collection concept. Education and social work are the core of this concept. 1:4 is an IKEA-like do-it-yourself package that guides you step by step. Not a table or closet, but a high-fashion garment that is zero waste and made of high quality. The concept has 5 components;
SOCIAL - The concept triggers the urge to create something yourself. The IKEA-DIY idea makes the concept approachable for every person and gives room to ask others for help. Pien Klein Douwel wants people to make use of their own community to create, inspire and develop together. The numbers of people that feel alone, alienated from the outside world and other people, are extremely high. In the designer’s eyes it is more important than ever to make use of your surroundings, to do something together.
EDUCATIONAL – Craftsmanship is fading away more and more, in particular the craft of making your own garments. The 1:4 concept teaches people techniques to create items that we wear everyday. Clothing is bought so fast an easily that we forget about all the work that goes in and how it affects workers.
AWARENESS – A lot of people are not aware of the long process of garment production. Many of us consider the handmade as something sustainable, even though all clothing is made by hand. The 1:4 concept also focuses on creating more awareness around themes like environment, workload, process etc.
SUSTAINABILITY - The 1:4 garments are are constructed by using a zero waste pattern that you could transform into 6 to 8 different timeless designs. By folding instead of cutting away, it will be possible to re-make the 1:4 garment over and over again.1:4 creates multiple designs in one piece that make a maximum use of the fabric, a garment that grows with time and can be adjusted to any size or body type.
TRANSPARENCY - 1:4 is an ongoing concept. The designer is open about where all materials came from and what is conscious about 1:4. Additionally, she’s transparent about the process itself - and is open to improve and finetune the concept over time.