On the occasion of the fifth edition of the Sustainable Challenge,, which took place at the DHub from November 2 to 5, we were honoured to have Roberte Piqueras, the project's curator. On this occasion, he allowed us to ask him about his career and the highlights of this year's edition:
You went through several phases in your career before finding your impactful role in society, transitioning from a fashion designer to a social educator. What prompted this change and how has it influenced your current perspective on fashion and gender?
The impetus for this change was a discomfort with the overproduction in the fashion industry and its environmental consequences. It led me to explore opportunities beyond the commercial and capitalist aspects of design, aiming to improve the community fabric and address social inequalities.
In your opinion, what are the most relevant current trends for promoting gender diversity in fashion? Which trends do you believe have the most significant impact?
Promoting gender diversity in fashion is challenging due to limited structures of influence. Narratives are often constructed within a hetero cisnormative framework, leaving little room for imagining diversity beyond the gender binary. One trend that stands out is "agender" fashion, but it sometimes replicates aesthetics associated with hegemonic masculinity. Escaping the confines of the liberal patriarchal system is particularly difficult in the fashion industry.
Regarding the Sustainability Challenge:
Given your expertise in creating safe and inclusive spaces, could you share examples of how you developed and implemented concepts, dynamics, and processes to foster such spaces during the challenge, considering the diverse nationalities involved?
Prior to the challenge, participants reflected on their privileges and potential oppressions to understand their positions in the world and share them within the group. We also conducted a bodily exercise session led by Frank Trobok to explore limits, desires, and enable a personal introduction that goes beyond verbal communication. Throughout the day, we provided spaces for care and reflection to manage potentially conflicting dynamics in a diverse group of 30 people, transcending nationality differences.
Many interesting projects emerged during the challenge. Can you highlight any outstanding projects from this edition?
One of the most compelling projects was about clothing serving as a source of celebration and empowerment, challenging gender stereotypes. The space became a unique celebration of "gender reveal" from an adult and autonomous perspective on what gender could be, redefining it for the future. Assigned genders were replaced by characteristics unrelated to sexual and reproductive aspects.
Roberte Piqueras, who identifies as elle, currently resides in their hometown of Sabadell. After nearly a decade of living in various places, they left their own fashion label in 2015 due to a conflict of values with the industry. They have since graduated as a Social Educator and earned a Master's in Education Research (UAB) in 2021. Currently, they are pursuing a Ph.D. in education and the construction of LGBTI+ safe spaces in compulsory education. Roberte is involved in LGBTI+ social action with the association Actuavallès, where they coordinate the Ca l'Enredus project. Thier aim is to promote the LGBTIQ+ community from an intersectional and feminist perspective with a broad community focus. Roberte's work is guided by the principles of intersectionality, gender perspective, and LGTBIQ+ advocacy.