Pose for peace. That’s the goal for the University’s “Posing for Peace: A Fashion Show. An Exploration” event being held on Monday in honor of the Year of Activism. Chandler Oliphant ‘12 is the program director, along with the Peace and Justice Studies department. The show plans to raise awareness about the popular peace sign culture. The Mirror sat down with Oliphant to discuss the upcoming show.

The Mirror: What is your role for the show?
Chandler Oliphant: Since I sit on the Peace and Justice Studies Department’s Steering Committee, I had the opportunity to write a part of the Humanities Institute Grant, and the part that I wrote happened to be “Posing for Peace.” My role is as program director. I owe a lot to the student volunteers who have reached out to me and have helped me make this whole event possible.

TM: From where did this idea grow?
CO: “Posing for Peace” is a part of the University’s “Year of Activism” theme and the School of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Institute Grant. Several other students have organized events and programs that have contributed to/will contribute to the “Year of Activism” as well.

TM: What message do you want audiences to take from the show?
CO: Peace symbols have become a huge part of today’s consumer culture — they saturate the markets and the malls and are all over stores and shops. I do not only want to make the people in the audience question why they buy the peace sign, though, I also want them to think about whether or not the items that explicitly display peace symbols are truly made with peaceful procedures and for peaceful purposes. We can produce items that explicitly display images of peace, but those images are empty because they, ironically, violate the definition of peace. Thus, we do not practice what we preach — we do not promote what we produce.

TM: Where will the money raised go?
CO: The money that we raise will be going to the Women’s Cooperative in Nicaragua whose T-shirts will be modeled on the catwalk. These T-shirts, unlike many of the other T-shirts that will be modeled embody the essence of peace. They are made with fair labor by the women of the cooperative, but more importantly, they are made in order to create jobs for the women of the cooperative who make them. Thus, the shirts display peace AND promote peace.
Finally, there will be a supply drive for the troops set up. Since “Posing for Peace” is on Dec. 7, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we are tying in a militarism component to juxtapose peace with war, and to explore how militarism, peace, and consumerism tie into each other in today’s world. With that said, people are encouraged to bring items such as hats, candy, puzzles, tan/white socks, baby wipes, etc to donate to the troops overseas.

TM: What does the peace sign mean to you?
CO: I think that the peace sign has been overused in our culture, and because of that, it has lost a lot of its meaning. I think that we should reevaluate the peace sign and truly consider what it means to us on a personal, individual level. After doing that, we will be able to apply it more generally to our world, and in doing so, understand what peace means on a larger scale. But if we just continue to drench ourselves with the peace sign, we are going to drown our understanding of it.

TM: How much interest has there been in students donating/volunteering with this project/initiative?
CO: I am so inspired by my peers and so humbled by the fact that they have been so responsive to this project. All of the clothing and accessories that will be modeled on the catwalk are students, all of the models are students, all of the delicious treats will be made by students, and all of the tables at the event will be staffed by students.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.