Articles with tag: design as a catalyst

07/30/2021 _Perspective

Watch Your Back, Girl!

The Story Behind The Dress for the Hunchbacked Girl by Poetic Designer Kamila Iżykowicz

While I was designing and cutting a classic dress, my tutor asked, “Why aren’t you cutting this straight? You don’t have a hunchback.” Rather than inform her of the multiple operations to correct my scoliosis, I thought, “Well, what if I did?” The Dress is a dialogue with my own disability, an exploration of an alternate present without the corrective procedures that rendered my disability invisible. It was made by draping material on a specially created model using cut-outs from the classic dress. It’s a design that asks inherently political questions of society’s relationship with disability and beauty standards. Fig. 1: The Dress for the Hunchbacked Girl. | Image: Irina Grishina & Kamila Iżykowicz, model: Viktoriia Zybina, set: Kamila Iżykowicz. “A very special date for all your calendars – save the date!” I just found out that we’re in the middle of International Scoliosis Awareness Month and that there’s a specially dedicated day on 27th June. [1]. As instructed, I saved the date. It was surprising to find that I’d never heard of this awareness campaign for my lifelong, agonizing health condition, and even more of a surprise to find its online literature accompanied by an image of a woman holding the face of a young girl, forcing it into a fake smile. “International Scoliosis Awareness Day (ISAD) falls on the last Saturday of each June. It’s a very special day for all of your calendars – save the date 27th June 2020” | Image: Scoliosis Association UK. [2]I spent a long time thinking about what I might have in common with this image, what it represents, and – as an art historian once upon a time – how best to read the message behind this visual representation. Having suffered from severe scoliosis my entire life, a condition which put me through a very special kind of physical and mental hell, why couldn’t I understand what this picture was meant to be saying? Convinced it was some kind of mistake, I began to draft a message to the association promoting the awareness campaign, in a bid to find out what was going on, but finally I couldn’t bring myself to send it. I guess it was because I secretly knew what the image meant. I just didn’t really want to say it out loud. When you are ‘disabled,’ there is always someone that you have to lean on, someone who…