Need to Know
29 : 06 : 21

Mulberry’s collection references the roots of Afro-Carribean hair, bioplastic bandage alternatives and why fetishisation proves harmful among UK daters.

Mulberry and Priya Ahluwalia celebrate hair heritage

Mulberry x Ahluwalia, UK

UK – Heritage luxury brand Mulberry has teamed up with menswear designer Priya Ahluwalia on its latest collection, championing the symbolism of Afro-Caribbean hair.

For its capsule collection, which comes as part of Mulberry’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the brand’s signature Portobello Tote bag and an assortment of scarves have been reworked to reflect Ahluwalia’s vibrant aesthetic. Each piece in the collection takes influence from the designer’s Nigerian-Indian heritage, capturing her experiences of hair as a means of self-expression and protest. Alongside this collaboration, Mulberry has also announced its decision to sign up to the Halo Code, a set of commitments focused on creating a future without race-based hair discrimination.

‘I hope people who have insecurities about having Afro-Carribean hair, or not having Eurocentric or white hair, get a drop of confidence or feel special or celebrated,’ says Priya Ahluwalia, reflecting on the collection. ‘When I develop ideas and collections I tend to lean towards ideas or concepts around my own dual heritage and London roots.'

As luxury brands begin to recognise the need for greater transparency, the sector is addressing the meaning of heritage beyond its colonial connotations.

An olfactory exhibition reworked as a virtual experience

Fleeting – Scents in Colour at Mauritshuis Museum, The Netherlands Fleeting – Scents in Colour at Mauritshuis Museum, The Netherlands
Fleeting – Scents in Colour at Mauritshuis Museum, The Netherlands Fleeting – Scents in Colour at Mauritshuis Museum, The Netherlands

The Netherlands – The Mauritshuis gallery is bringing its olfactory exhibition to viewers at home through a fragrance box and virtual see-and-smell tour.

The Fleeting – Scents in Colour exhibition explores both pleasant and foul scents from the 17th century. While it will soon be open to the public, visitors are also welcome to experience the government collection of paintings through a digital lens. The virtual tour will be led by culinary journalist Joël Broekaert and Mauritshuis curator Ariane van Suchtelen, inviting viewers to smell various scents in the fragrance box as they appear in the tour – simultaneously seeing and smelling the art on display.

In the physical exhibition, viewers can look at the artworks and release associated scents via dispensers. By providing both in-person and home-based viewing options, the gallery is catering for the different needs of inter-Covid consumers.

This interactive approach also shows how brands and organisations can re-stimulate emotion and feelings through sensory cues – something Linda Ralph explores in her opinion piece.

Redress is a bioplastic bandage alternative

London – Doctor and designer Kerri Cooper is challenging the wastefulness of conventional medical textiles with a bioplastic alternative.

Recognising that most materials like bandages and gauze are largely single-use and non-biodegradable, Kerri Cooper’s ReDress project applies biomimicry techniques to ensure a circular lifecycle for wound dressings. ReDress uses wood pulp to create a bioplastic which mimics the textures of bamboo leaf – allowing it to include moisture-wicking properties that promote efficient healing. And while many traditional dressings are incinerated after use, these dressings will naturally break down without harming the environment.

‘The possibilities are big for an idea like this,’ says Kerri Cooper. ‘If the healthcare sector could be encouraged to use a solution like this it could significantly reduce waste and promote a more circular approach to medical treatment.’

Such initiatives echo the innovations we explore in Material Far Futures, encompassing dynamic fabrics that are less ecologically damaging.

ReDress by Kerri Cooper, UK ReDress by Kerri Cooper, UK

Stat: UK daters face unsolicited fetishisation

Howl, UK Howl, UK

Among UK citizens, there is a lack of awareness of fetishisation and its harmful impacts on marginalised groups.

According to dating app Bumble, about 53% of participants in a UK survey said that they didn’t fully understand what fetishisation meant. The study also found that one in three people in the country have been the victim of racial discrimination, unsolicited fetishisation or micro-aggressions when dating online.

The survey revealed that men and women from mixed race backgrounds were most likely to experience unsolicited fetishisation, with one in two saying they have been a victim. Meanwhile, Black British people in the UK receive the most racial discrimination on their dating profiles (41%).

While such harmful behaviours continue, Generation Z are carving out their own Safe Spaces away from mainstream platforms.

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