Profiles in Regeneration: Joseph, 18, UK
Much greater funding needs to be placed in legislation to curb the awful effects of fashion, and incentives for brands to do better.
Young people all around the world are working to build a regenerative future. At 18, Joseph Brimicombe is one of those people. He is the founder of a new British clothing brand designed to support communities effected by loss of industry in UK by having each “drop” created with a specific community and its local industry.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
Joseph Brimicombe: Slightly overwhelmed. As a first year student in a fashion design BA, the impact of COVID has been massive in terms of [not being able to access] incredible facilities. I’m optimistic that I can push through these challenges and still get what I need to from my course.
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
JB: I have a real passion for watching creatives involved in engineering-based pursuits. You’ll regularly find me watching furniture-building time-lapses, or creative ways of using epoxy. I think its really important as a designer to look at what creatives are doing in completely different sectors to inform some of your ideas.
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
JB: I’m always learning about 20 different things at once, through different mediums and sources. I am obsessed with learning, and while I’m involved in creative industries my academic background has made me very studious in the way I approach things. I’m currently reading Naked Fashion by Safia Minney.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
JB: In terms of personal relationships, my grandfather. He’s just a very dependable person, and I think he and my late grandmother have had the biggest impact on me as a young person.
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
JB: A conversation about life, work, and the importance of giving back on a bus with a stranger. I was coming back from a date and had to take a two-hour bus detour because all the trains back home were canceled, and got chatting with the person sitting next to me. I didn’t even get his name, but [we talked] about his background in a working-class northern city, [what it was like] growing up as industrialism collapsed around him, and how this impacted the choices in his life. It was incredibly eye-opening. I talked to him about an idea that I had been kicking around, and he gave me some advice and left shortly thereafter. I always say that (Redundant)Civilian was born in the backseat of a broken-down bus in St. Albans, and I truly mean it. Without this conversation with a man who I will never meet again, I don’t think I would have pursued and developed this idea into something substantial and worthwhile.
RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?
JB: Recognizing achievement as a financial output is usually a very bad outlook on creative projects, but due to the nature of what I’m trying to achieve I think I would be lying if I didn’t say that in two years’ time that is what I would view as success. [I want to use the financial output] to fund communities, so without seeing that money benefiting those people I couldn’t view the (Redundant)Civilian project as a success.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which would you choose and why?
JB: Much greater funding needs to be placed in legislation to curb the awful effects of fashion, and incentives for brands to do better.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
JB: The emphasis placed on learning a second language was always something I thought was good, and in hindsight something I wish I had taken more advantage of. I think the focus on math and science, [which for many people] will never be applied beyond a test at the end of our studies, is absurd. I haven’t used any of my science or math skills since I left the exam halls, and that’s a really sad reflection on the purpose of learning it to begin with.
RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?
JB: Learn to swim. The tide is rising.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
JB: Expansion is both a frightening and inspiring prospect. If done responsibly and in a controlled manner, it could allow for a project to do better for others, but expansion simply for the sake of it is both irresponsible and dangerous. I only want to expand my work in a way that is responsible.
RF: Regeneration is…
JB: The only way forward.
To learn more about Regenerative List finalist Joseph Brimicombe, click here.