Sponsored by: Isabella Rossellini & The Livestock Conservancy
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[ THESIS ]
In partnership with Isabella Rossellini and The Livestock Conservancy; Ovis Aries is a collaborative network stemming from farmers who raise heritage and endangered breeds of sheep. By bringing together game changers from all walks of industry and diversifying making at every step, we are creating garments resulting in a demand for these sheep and their fiber. Fighting for agricultural diversity through cultural diversity.
By reimagining the fashion design system through a new network of game changers - from farm to performance, sheep to farmers, athletes to actors, and rappers to writers. All while using wool from heritage and endangered breeds to developing a language to share a fiber that takes extraordinary people and extraordinary hard work to raise.
The monoculture created around Australian Merino sheep, which is responsible for 80 percent of the wool in our fashion system, has lead to the endangerment of dozens of breeds; due to a lack of demand for their wool and meat. When we loose breeds, we loose genetic diversity. This leaves us a very unstable ecosystem. By sourcing from farmers that raise these breeds we create a diverse system that continues to thrive even if one source fails.
Once the wool is shorn, it is taken to a mill to be washed, carded, spun, and plyed. By spinning yarns through micro mills, such as Mad River Fiber Mill and Battenkill Fiber, processing smaller quantities becomes an option. Large commercial mills can require a 1,000lb minimum of raw wool before being able to process fiber. With decreased minimums, farmers with smaller flocks are able to have their wool spun without pooling it together with other farms.
All garments were inspired by and knitted for those who challenge social norms and transcend cultural boundaries. Bringing contrasting backgrounds together through wool and knitwear creates a network unseen elsewhere in the fashion world. Through this network we are able to reach a sprawling diverse audience. Changing the way farm to table is perceived.
Ekimian is a knitwear designer and ambassador for The Livestock Conservancy who focuses on wool,specifically fiber from heritage breeds of sheep.
Her interest led her to find work on a wool farm where she was exposed to caring for and shearing sheep, to knitting the finished spun yarn. Ekimian was awarded the 2019 Woolmark Scholarship while at Parsons, the same year she knitted a gown from wool for the Met Gala Camp: Notes on Fashion. Using her work, she hopes to reimagine our fashion system through greater cultural diversity and