Does art reflect life? Indeed, it does. However, the bigger question to ponder is if fashion reflects life. At times it does, and at other times fashion can be the whimsical expression of a designer or a response to what retail stores believe consumers want to buy. Still, when fashion and art meet at the intersection of life whether that life expression is reflected in pop culture, political realities or social change, the results are groundbreaking and ultimately iconic.
When Coco Chanel realized that the role of women in culture had shifted, she created garments that gave freedom of movement, reflecting the changing role of women in society. The bikini and the miniskirt were at the epicenter of the sexual revolution. Zandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood allowed their fashion collections to incorporate an anarchistic, irreverent response to Thatcherism. And 60s fashion was a reflective mirror to the freedom movements of Black Power, the Women’s Movement and Peace and Anti-War movements.
If fashion can conjure up images of freedom, liberation, anarchy, or even a political stance, then why can’t fashion comment on violence? Enter UN:DO.
For it debut collection, “UN:LOAD,” UN:DO’s creative director Jack Klauber looked to the epidemic of gun violence as a reference point. “Growing up on the southside suburbs of Chicago, I have experienced first hand the dire situation of gun violence in my own community, and have always felt a devoted need to help remedy it,” states Klauber. “Our partnership with Cure Violence was a no brainer for launching our first collection because not only does this profound non-profit originate from my hometown, it has sites all across America, and growing internationally. In addition to the fantastic work it does by reducing violence, it also provides much needed job opportunities to previously incarcerated individuals. Gun violence tears at the fabric of our society.”
Each garment in the “UN:LOAD” collection is shot with a 12-gauge shotgun creating a uniquely tattered, distressed look to each garment. “UN:LOAD” aims to reduce gun violence through the lens of fashion by creating awareness and raising funds to save lives in communities across the US, with 20% of the profits going to the not-for-profit organization Cure Violence. UN:DO is an ethically “Made In New York” brand, inspired by Berlin culture and the increasingly trending Brooklyn aesthetic.