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The Case for Grails

I was shocked when I heard that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, behind oil. The way clothing is presented to us in stores, online, on the runway, or in the media, hides the amount of labor and resources that went into their creation. From the cultivation of their raw materials all the way through to their eventual disposal, our garments lifespans have a much greater impact than we tend to think. A large part of the problem is due to “fast-fashion,” the acceleration of trends, production, and consumption. If fashion is speeding up, how can we slow down?

For my senior design thesis project I decided to focus on the consumer-side of this issue by designing a small publication, The Case for Grails. Like the holy relic from medieval legend, the word "grail" is often used among fashion enthusiasts to describe an article of clothing that one considers a prized possession. To slow consumption, clothing should be considered an investment, rather than cheap and disposable. I wanted to bring light to the issue while providing a practical framework for anyone to change their personal buying habits. Overall, my goal was to address fashion’s global sustainability issue by encouraging us as consumers to think critically about the clothes we wear and buy, thus empowering us to make more informed decisions on an individual and societal level. Our collective decisions fuel the industry, and realizing this, we have the power to change it.

Aside from the quotes, definitions and news articles, all the writing and images used in this book are my own. While creating this publication, I had to take into consideration effective rhetoric, historical context, consumer behavior, and the psychology of dress. Various skills and research methods, from interviews to ethnographic research, were employed in the process.

Blackletter typefaces were used throughout the book and on the cover as a play on the slang term "grail" which stems from the mythical Holy Grail.



The book went through various iterations before reaching the final product. Some parts were rearranged or omitted to maintain flow and focus. Storyboards, interviews, and prototypes informed the whole process along the way.



The project installation on display at the USF Senior Art + Design Thesis Exhibition. Definitions and news articles were pulled from the book and made into posters accompanying the book display, introducing viewers to the book's premise and providing a peek into its contents.

Using Format