Design Challenge

The big lug was sitting out, left carelessly by my roommate. It sat idly wondering where everyone had gone. It was an annoying presence, reminding me of a chore that had to be done. It stood upright at attention with its would up cord creating a diversion. “Unwind me,” it called out. “Vroom. Vroom,” it roared, mocking me clearly. It was no racecar that offered at least some fun. This is a utilitarian being with a big, fat belly. The thick patterned fabric was hiding a bag inside, full of unhealthy dust. I should have opted for a bagless version, but frankly, where does the dirt go? It is a mystery to me. This guy facing me with derision was an old timer when things were less advanced. He needs a dose of technology.

I paid no attention and went about my business watching TV when all of a sudden, I turned to the Lifetime channel that features fashion competitions. You know the kind. They have won Emmys. After a few minutes, I realized what constituted the participants’ immediate challenge. They had to use industrial materials in a repurposed way. Some got really creative. The best was a dress made of a vacuum cleaner bag and the hose from a bagless model like the ones here. He told the audience that he had got them for free from a junk store. It was a very thoughtful commentary on not only the trendy and inventive fashion world, but also the state of modern technology. The designer was being practical by using existing items that can be found everywhere in our surroundings. It makes a statement about recycling as much as about the shock value of new “fabrics.” Even though he didn’t win the popular vote on Facebook, he was the true winner in my eyes. The show must have a motto that fashion can be fun.

I admire people who don’t take their craft too seriously and insist on one way of doing things. The designers didn’t mind modifying their usual approach that shows off more skill. This kind of project requires more ingenuity. You don’t have to demonstrate your ability to do scrunching or pleating. Your end-result doesn’t have to scream elegance and style. All that is expected on such a TV show is the willingness to experiment and explore while following the rules. Each contestant must meet the demands of the challenge and exceed it. You don’t expect the dress to actually be wearable or saleable. It should, however, show imagination and hutzpah. It should also get a second look. Most of the time the judges hate these silly exercises, but they comment none the less as if they were real fashion.

Who knew that machines like my friendly vacuum at home would be useful for another purpose. He is shaking as he watches the TV with me. He doesn’t want to end up being torn apart and fashioned into a ridiculous female garment. It is not in his belief system. Let me do my thing and clean the floors, he moans.