About a Worker
Paris, France · Fashion Design
The 2018 AFIELD mentorship was awarded to Kim Hou and Paul Boulenger for About A Worker (AAW), an initiative which rethinks the fashion system by producing the designs of workers expressing their own vision of the industry.
The brand casts some light on the invisible creators and unheard stories of the fashion world, while promoting responsible craftmaking of local laboratories and factories.
For the first collection, AAW cooperated with Mode Estime, a clothing factory located in Saint-Denis (Paris) and hosting 14 workers with fixed-term contracts. Amongst them, Fadila Boubekeur, Aissatou Gakou, Kira Ghoul and Misbahou Yssouf all took part in a 6 months initiation to design based on the classical process of creating a collection, from the moodboard to the end product.
About A Worker ’s fashion collections do not follow seasons but the countries where the production takes place. It has the ambition to travel where fashion has deep social, economic and environmental impacts. By collaborating with workers from different parts of the globe, About A Worker is also eager to take-part in a knowledge-sharing, learning from the experience of people they meet.
In 2018, About a Worker participated in the Afield Mentorship where Kim and Paul worked with 2015 fellow Alejandra Ballon-Gutiérrez for 18 months. One of the goals was to produce a new collection in collaboration with the women of the Shipibo-Conibo Peruvian community with whom Alejandra has been working for several years. In doing so, About A Worker will both learn and give visibility to their local and traditional weaving technique called Kené.
Founded by Kim Hou and Paul Boulenger, About A Worker is an innovative project that opens the way to a new approach to making fashion, where the worker is placed at the center of the creative process.
The duo met in London in 2011 during an academic exchange at Kingston University. Kim & Paul became friends through their shared passion for Art, Fashion & Design. In 2017, after working in various areas within the clothing field, their complementarity brought them back together, to build About A Worker as a practical social & creative system.
About A Worker started as Kim’s graduation project for the Design Academy of Eindhoven. About A Worker is now an itinerant creative factory collaborating with workers, brands, production entreprise and cultural institutions worldwide.