World Skin Color Scarves: Turning Data Into Fashion

Designer Reineke Otten rethinks dry data into silk scarves beautifully printed with graphics and colors.

Fashion and fact and figures usually involve the number of runway presentations per season, or the measurements of the latest supermodel. Dutch visual sociologist Reineke Otten saw things differently. Using style as a medium for analyzing society’s overlapping patterns and orders, Otten created a series of World Skin Colors scarves that represent a country’s demographic data, such as population density, migration, GDP, temperature, UV radiation, and transport.

Together with LUST designers, Otten rethought how to present gathered statistics and translate them instead into a visual code that when printed on to silk scarves is both informative and beautiful. Otten describes creating the process for these layers of information to interact visually, “The beauty, for me, lies in the surprises — the unexpected ways that these shapes and colors come together.”

”Imagine people as color pixels. Flying over the world, you would look down and see … what?”

There are 231 unique scarves available,  representing countries include The United States, Aruba and the Netherlands. Otten writes, “the scarves reveal relationships, histories, and patterns of populations; they tell stories that you can fold, twist, drape, hang, or wear; stories to contemplate, discuss, or retell.”

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