Fashion for a Greater Purpose
By: Rose de Paulsen
In 1995, David Dixon graduated from Ryerson University and began creating contemporary evening wear that marries elegance with functionality. Since conception, his garments have been sold across Canada and in select boutiques globally. Dixon’s artistry has always transcended language to tell stories in visually provocative ways. In 2019, Dixon created the collection Bübl in collaboration with Osteoporosis Canada in partnership with Edelman Canada with pharma company AMGEN Canada. Their goal was to raise awareness of an invisible disease by making a visual statement. Osteoporosis affects more than 2.3 million Canadians and often goes undiagnosed, due to the fact it is not visible and symptoms are subtle until an accident happens. The goal of the Bübl was to bring the inside out and through bubble wrap, display the fragility of our bodies. At times we neglect the inside of our bodies, the things we cannot see. In our labor centered society, pain is seen as the result of good, hard work. Dixon used x-rays of bones and spines printed onto fabric to make the inside of our bodies completely visible and considered. Other pieces utilized bubble wrap to bring the idea of fragility to the forefront. Bubble wrap itself is fragile and most often is used to protect fragile things. Osteoporosis affects the bones in a way that deteriorates their mass and causes bones to become brittle and fracture prone. Hence the focus on fragility, but also empowerment. Caring about one’s health should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The Bübl campaign was one of Osteoporosis Canada’s most impactful. Cannes Festival of Creativity awarded Bübl with a Bronze Lion in 2019 for their incredible work.
At Seneca’s Fashion Resource Center was gifted one of the garments from the Bübl collection. This dress is pearly white, and has layers of bubble wrap for the skirt, like flower petals around the hips. The layers on the bodice evokes images of the ribs and spine. Some of the more common fractures are the hip, vertebrae, pelvis, and wrist. Osteoporosis can have little to no symptoms, which is why it is so important to raise awareness about who is most at risk and how you can prevent or live healthily with osteoporosis.
Fashion has always been deeply involved with awareness. One of the most well-known fashion awareness movements is Breast Cancer awareness. From couture to retail, pink ribbons can be found on any kind of garment. Most of the garments sold contribute a portion to breast cancer research. Fashion often mixes with art to help with donations. During the AIDS epidemic, Keith Haring began using his art and shirts from the Pop Shop to donate back into the LGBTQ+ community. His style and prints have been used in many fashion partnerships, all donating to the Keith Haring Foundation to better the lives of those diagnosed with AIDS. In recent times, many streetwear and Gen Z brands are focusing their awareness on mental illness. It’s All Sad is a Toronto based streetwear brand connected with mental health awareness. In 2021 the New York Times published an article on the importance of fashion in the healthcare industry and health wear. Care+Wear focuses on bringing fashion to the frontline workers as well as those with specific needs.
There are countless collaborations with designers for awareness and research funding. The fashion community will always care for and support health care and healthcare workers. Fashion should feel good, inside, and out.