Redefining the Art of Campaigning
It is no hidden fact that the world is not perfect nor that the responsibility of perfecting it lies with each and every one of us. The Department of Applied Education through the age-old tradition of avant-garde fashion continues to push at the every day individual’s sensibilities in an attempt to create awarness of this responsibility in surrounding communities as well as the nation at large.
Following the Departments’ exhibition at the recent Research and Intellectual Expo and the interest that their garments and accessories garnered from members of the public who visited the stand, it has never been more apparent that indeed their efforts are not in vain. Visitors to the University stand at the expo could be seen marvelling at the creativity and innovation that is as a result of the breakthrough thinking of students and lectures alike.
The term avant-garde has been commonly used in the fashion industry to describe a type of fashion that is bold, striking, unconventional, mysterious, but more importantly one that makes people sit-up and notice. All these words sum up the Department of Applied Education’s exhibit at the expo that made visitors to the MSU stand, stand still and notice. Since time immemorial avant-garde fashion has been used countless times in protests and campaigns of varying nature as a means of making statements that challenge the existing status quo.
Zimbabwe is a country with its own set of unique challenges and the Department has set out to address some of these challenges in the only way that they know best, fashion. The result has been the creation of dress made of corn snacks packets, which caused quite a stir but not one as big as the one that was caused by a vest made from condoms. The former, which falls under the non-wearable category of avant-garde was especially designed for environmental awarness campaigns aimed at highlighting the effects of litter on the environment while at the same time encourage communitites to come up with possible ways of recycle or utilising litter in positive and productive ways that ensure a clean environment. Zimbabwe like any other African country continues to record high statistics of people either affected or infected with HIV/AIDS and as such the later was especially designed to encourage the use of protection in order to curb the further spread of the virus. In an age dominated by HIV/AIDS awareness programmes, the majority of people appear to be tunning out nowadays whenever the subject of HIV/AIDS is broached, what scholars have termed (HIV fratigue) and as such there has arisen a need to come up with more innovative and subtle ways to get people’s attention and to get them to listen, and the is precisely what the condom vest does. It draws attention and once you have someone’s attention it becomes easier to deliver your message.
In addition, to these two garments, the Department also came up with accessories for campaigns such as a handbag made from sanitary pads as well as other accessories made from lolly pop sticks and plastic for environmental campaigns.
The Department did not however limit itself to the above mentioned but went further to remind society of its forgotten members of society. Often we find that members of our society living with disablities are often relegated to the outer realms of society, looked upon with disdain and their infirmities blamed on evil spirits and black magic. Designing clothes for this segment of the market has been neglected for the obvious reason of lack of profit potential but still the Department has designed a range of clothing and accessories specifically tailored for this forgotten segment. Not only will these clothes make the life of people living with disabilities easier but they will also awaken the more privileged members of society to their plight.
After three days of exhibiting at the Research and Intellectual Expo, one can safely say that most people who passed through the MSU stand left with a greater appreciation of environmental and social issues that confront us as a nation as boldly articulated through the innovation and invention of the Department of Applied Education.
The Midlands State University is proud to be associated with a group of people who use their talent and skill in the pursuit of bettering the lives of fellow country men.