TOPAZ Issue 10 / 2004
The Template: Visionary storyline of Development
Project for women, Human Template, Integration of all ages
Classroom design, Refuge garden
Intelligence of colour, Well being Sciences, Pentabalance
Music, Counselling care for the dying, Storytelling
Ease, Kaleidolight, The Aura Shower
Music of the future - The Symphony of Well Being
New Musical Landscapes
New Templates for New Times
New Templates for New Times & Astrology
Clothes for personal growth

Clothes for personal growth

This is the story of three people who met each other four years ago in the Danish Template Network and became involved in work together relating to personal development and understandings about life. We decided to do a project together to gather and test our knowledge and understanding in these areas.

So a wish to increase our potential and to understand ourselves better was the starting place for this project, and during it we developed methods for self discovery and how to actively steer towards purposeful living.

This project could have been about many subjects, but we chose clothes, as this is an area where all our interests and expertise came together and because we wanted to make something of quality. Once we had decided on the subject we found it important to look at our own individual characteristics, what values and intentions we have, how we realise them, and then to bring them all together, as the method of design is holistic - how a person operates as a whole.

So we looked at such things as blood type, astrology, numerology, nationality, Chinese astrology. Looking at a person through these approaches gives a wide range of information, and it is impersonal because it leaves out personal psychologies caused by upbringing and other sociological factors.

Here follows an example of a personal description that resulted from this approach: beauty, balance, vanity, care, just, poetic, confused, fickle, free, easy, everywhere, energy bomb, creative, seeking, dominant, intelligent, busy, quick, succesful, fanatic, dedicated, shoot-aim-hit, direct, charming, freedom, fatal, sign of eternity, catastrophe/success, life/death, all/nothing, rebirth, chaos, transformation, change, nomadic, flexible, versatile, teamwork, love, femininity, development, contemplation, understanding, originality, social mingler, radical change, primeval urge, the ability to do what’s necessary.

So what is the story we want to tell? It is about a method that can help reveal who we are, and about how to turn this insight into something that can support, strengthen and give reflection back to us. Also we urgently wanted to find a way in which to express ourselves in the spirit of these times, where keywords like individualism and teamwork are in focus, and where a need for value and a time for contemplation is pressing as a result of our high-speed lifestyles.

We proceeded from the notion that using precious time and energy for a project brings a greater understanding and appreciation for the work being done, and allows the important process of leaving one’s mark on the material. So every thought leaves its stamp and the craft becomes a means of weaving thought and action together.

Our method of approach for these individual designs is based on the simple but significant blueprint of the human complex having five extremities (head, arms and legs), each representing a prime energy through the colours white, green, yellow, blue and red, a journey from intention to result.

White intention with the project
Green uninhibited generation of ideas
Yellow visualisation and values
Blue structuring and choice of procedure
Red carrying out and completing the project

These five energies, together with the rainbow spectrum colours, are the basis for choosing the colours in the suits. For inspiration to do with style we looked at the 4,000 years of the history of clothes. We found that often the historic period we are fascinated by and are drawn to is something we can identify with.

We made a point of tuning the ecology of our workshop to create a space in which efficiency and creativity could thrive, we cleaned the place regularly, measured the nature of the day, had lots of fresh air and made a pleasant environment with flowers, music and fresh and focused minds.

Although the project is about three individual suits, we all worked on each other’s suits as we wanted to make use of each other’s skills and resources. We developed a 50/50 principle, space for individual excellence and a team spirit in practical issues and mental attitude. As an example, we only worked on the project when all three of us were present.

What are clothes?
Apart from the protective, decorative and socially signalling role which clothing represents, it can also be a means of communication to self, and to the unseen worlds. What do we mean by the unseen worlds? The human is able to attract and process energies from the ground and the surroundings. The conscious use of colour, shape, symbol and number can attract corresponding energies and boost one’s own processes, much like a priest will dress in a garment with certain colours, shapes and symbols for a particular ceremony to strengthen his divine connections. Thus clothes can become a manifestation of one’s purpose, a statement reminding oneself about what is important.

Choice of colour and materials
How can we determine the effect of what we are wearing? This can be done through colour, for example surrounding oneself with as many blue objects as possible and focussing on the colour, collecting examples of where blue is found in natural settings (the sky, veins, eyes, flowers etc). Is there any connection between the examples, where are they found, what is their function? The answers to these questions will give some clue as to the meaning of the colour, which will find expression at various levels. At one level blue can represent balance, at another level a standard, on a third level it can represent discipline towards a goal. So a person feeling a bit jittery can put on a blue sweater to seek a balancing effect, and that is the level of blue that is being sought, even though all the other levels are there as a background influence. The same method of research can be used on the other colours, whose nature and influence is too vast a subject to cover here.

The type of material is important as well, the body’s electromagnetic field can process through natural fibres uninterrupted, whilst synthetic fibres have a blocking effect on the exhaust of ’used’ energy. Synthetic fibres, especially tights, also collect static electricity. That is why we have chosen natural materials like cotton, flax and silk and for our suits.

The three suits
Intentions representing a wish to develop beyond one’s basic nature are woven into the suits. Each suit is built around three key notions:

1st suit

Overview Calmness and reflection
Balance Communication between the inner and outer worlds
Courage Action and heart

Purpose; to grow as a human, develop my potential and to strengthen connection to the unseen worlds and the universe.This suit is made to inspire, cause joy, celebrate life’s greatness, to balance and correct one’s focus. Encouragement to act is symbolised by the red in the skirt. The blue represents the balance between attitude and action.
The square and angled lines in the bottom counter the wavy and rounded lines at the top of the suit and express the relationship between the physical, earthbound and the mental, electrical contained in the same person. The sleeves are made according to the fixing energy of the right hand - expressed with golden embroidery, and the dissolving nature of the left hand - expressed with silver embroidery.

The hood is made with an indigo lining decorated like a canopy of stars, and is designed to be used when the need for a more internal process arises. The materials used are cotton velvet, cotton satin, raw silk and silk satin. The suit is made for special ceremonies, meditation and situations when I work with personal development.

The silver line symbolises action and the course of life, where the golden buttons represent an attitude to life based on the three key words given above. No action without attitude. We have combined our three planetary signs, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury into one collective symbol, to express the force of our collective strengths and actions when we are in process together. This symbol is featured in each of our suits.

2nd suit

Magic to remember how easy it is to be connected
Prioritising to clearly see what is most important for my development
Openness to keep my mind open and ready for new perception

The purpose of my suit is an intention to reach a deeper self-understanding, to be true to my inner being and to remind me where I am going in my personal development by making my intentions plain to see. Take action and change. I wish to use my suit for special ceremonies, meditation and situations when I work with personal development.

The turban-like headdress is made in a spiralling shape (and nicknamed ’spirban’). The spiralling movement continues down the body with the scarf, denoting a union between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A silver fringe runs along the scarf as a symbol of a living and playful energy on the path of life. The bottom edge of the dress gives a sense of gravity and grounding. The green colour is for creativity, initiative, new ideas and openness. Violet symbolises vision and spirituality, and terracotta denotes grounding and is calming. The materials used are cotton jersey, silk velvet, and silk satin. Gold, representing an introverted and holding energy is found on the right sleeve, and silver, the extrovert and transmitting energy on the left. The cufflinks are adorned with the symbol of eternity and immortality. The crystals on the front of the headdress represent honesty and purity, and the collection and holding of energies.

3rd suit

Honesty not wasting energy on lies
Discipline to do what needs doing
Freedom the joy of real freedom

Purpose; to grow as a human, develop my potential and strengthen connections to the unseen worlds.
My suit is a mix of intentions, wishes and a statement of who I am. The symbology used is in number, colour and shape; as an example, the neck cut is open, expressing a fundamental attitude of openness to people, new thoughts and ideas. The vest is simple and straight, much like I am. Seven buttons represent the colours of the rainbow spectrum. The lining is blue and made of silk which has an insulating and preserving capacity, working as a filter for actions to have gone through standards and principles. The shirt is made of a tough material, is white for knowledge and forms the spine of the suit. The open cut symbolises freedom, and the suit is made for walks and meditation.

Roots symbolise grounding and being plugged in to what is real and basic. The green colour of the flax trousers represents creativity, versatility and swiftness. The runes represent history and backbone, the silver sign is for the push to victory, combined with the sign for growth and fertility. It wants to progress, further and refine what issues from me. The ancient golden sign for the human is there to remind me what a fantastic thing it is to be human, with all its inherent possibilities.

What is the use of these clothes?
The concept of the suits is to be both an internal mirror and to provide a visual reminder about who we are and our intentions. The long process of designing and making them is lodged in the suits themselves, and so acts as a supporting platform for the standards come to and for personal growth. As we use them more and more, this will increase the benefits, as each time they are worn it will connect to an increasing string of success and development. They are created from our best current perception, with the possibility of adding features, symbols and jewellery according to our development and understanding.

Thought bubbles

  • How do you imagine a super-version of yourself to be?
  • How would you express yourself?
  • Why did we do this project?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • How do you want to use your life?

Dorrit Shoshan, 36, is an independent clothes designer, working with archetypes and human qualities through design. Has been part of (involved in) the Template Network since 1999.
Marianne Schøett Pedersen, 29, artistic painter by profession, is studying relaxation therapy. Has been part of the Template Network since 1998.
Johannes Nielsen, 29, bricklayer and painter, is studying furniture and spatial design. Has been part of the Template Network since 1998.

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