«Every time we tell a story, the world is changed»

Priya Lalvani — Constructing the (M)other, Narratives of Disability, Motherhood and the Politics of Normal

TUBU was born out of necessity.

My dear friend and knitwear designer Camilla Bruerberg told me a few years back: Clothing is intimate technology, almost biology. And I couldn’t agree more.

When I became a mother four years ago, my identity — that had for a long time already been somewhat complex due to its plural nature (designer and journalist) — transformed completely. I was given a true existential jolt to the system as several intergenerational ecosystems of care shifted simultaneously, like tectonic plates in the midst of an earthquake:

I got acute pre-eclampsia, my daughter was born and my estranged father passed away.

Life and death coincided brutally in what was an already intense pre- and postpartum phase — and the need to feel a strong sense of self was intensified.

My body was also changing, it suddenly became soft and fluid. But my garments, my once trusted companions in textile, were surprisingly rigid and static in shape and form and didn’t change with me. 

I wanted to be held, and there was no apparel that could. I remember lying at the hospital for a week, doctors continuously monitoring my hypertension and feeling so out of place in this large hospital gown cotton sack. My belly was obviously quite disheveled, and although I felt pride, I also felt extremely exposed while breast-feeding.

I began thinking about all the individuals going through extreme phases life, and then wondering: Could clothing care more?

Finally, a true need in textile appeared and I could justify my want to create knitwear apparel, something I had never managed in a fashion world crumbling due to planned obsolescence and ecological collapse. I felt equally enthralled by all changing bodies going through great stages of bio-psychological transformation, namely “all seasons of life”.

This can include menstruation and endometriosis, long-term illness or to just a day on the couch — resting. Something we do way too seldom in this day and age.

TUBU is short for tubular knit and with a BA in Product Design in Textiles and an MA in Graphic Design, I knew that digital knitwear technology could be integral in creating a set of modular pieces — with equal emphasis on both the look and feel of the garments.

And so I started playing with the idea of creating TUBU.systems, an experiment in textiles of digitally knitted pieces with transformative qualities. This was my contribution to the realm of reproductive and inclusive design, and my first true attempt at a technology of care.

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