the botany of design
I just finished Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. Subtitled “A Plant’s Eye View of the World”. Pollan shows how plants go out of their way to use animals to propogate their own species, suggesting that we are just another seed carrying dupe in the grand plan of plants… like corn. Pollan’s book was a powerful one, expressing perceptions I have not encountered before.
There has been some interesting discussion happening, about how fashion seems to be failing a little. Well, interesting to me, this is Final Fashion. Sitting here in Paper Denim and Cloth and American Apparel, I got an idea.
There is a cotton conspiracy. The profligation of denim and t-shirts is destroying the diversity of clothing around the world. This democratic fiber dresses almost everyone regardless of social class or location. And throughout history, cotton seems to have even convinced us to senselessly exploit our own species to reproduce its jeans.
Cotton gets foisted upon us in an ever-more continuous barrage – instead of two seasons, fast fashion gives us new variations on t-shirts and genes every week. The appearance of diversity is nothing more than an insistent flogging of the same thing. Like the way a flower goes out of its way to attract a hapless bee to spread its pollen, fashion goes out of its way to find new ways to sell us more cotton.
Evolutionary domination is fleeting; once one particular plant becomes a monolithic monoculture it becomes vulnerable – whether it loses its resistance to parasites or disease… or it overwhelms its environment.
It is not just fashion that seems to be imbalanced these days.