‘The Colony’ is the name of the spring ’10 collection of one of my favourite eco designers, Ada Zanditon . Today I was watching the video interview I did with her in which she narrates how she came to this collection, inspired by the book called ‘A world without bees’. The book talks about the possible reasons why bees are suffering from colony collapse disorder which is said to be a huge environmental problem. Throughout the book it becomes clear what amazing qualities bees have and how they pollinate one third of all the food we eat. Ada wanted to translate her fascination for bees into a collection that is, in my view, her strongest so far. Instead of going for fluffy yellow and black dresses, she started looking at the way bees think and found that the basis of what they do, lies in the honeycomb structure they build. She started constructing garments out of hexagons and discovered how body conscious this shape is. Creating her collection as a colony, like bees build their colony, brought her to the chosen color pattern:
‘There are so many national flags that carry the colors red, white and blue. I am half British, half American: that’s all red, white and blue. The linen I have used is grown in France which is again red, white and blue. I wanted to use these primary colors because it connects to the idea of colonies. What happens with bees is that when one colony dies, you have to buy new bees or get bees from another region to create a new colony. It is really colonial what we’re doing there. Imagine what that would do to people, well we have seen that in the past: we’re really messing with nature. This is why it made complete sense to me to create this collection in red, white and blue. Although it is maybe a bit obscure at first, I also think it is really important for people to understand this’.
Ada is not the only one inspired by bees, because the other day I met Farouk Jiwa who was guest lecturing here at Ivey . Farouk is founder of HoneyCare Africa and I was delighted to spend time with him and hear more about this amazing social enterprise. In his mid twenties, Farouk started Honeycare as a means for small farmers to earn additional income. The craft of beekeeping was almost forgotten and Kenia imported most of its honey from abroad. Through successful collaborations with NGO’s and companies, Honeycare built a network of beekeepers around the country, providing them with the means to build their communities. Honeycare is a great example of how a small animal like the bee can change the lives of thousands of people.
This piece is in honor of my dad who is an amateur beekeeper and was the first one to open my eyes to the beautiful world of bees.
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