Rohan Chhabra showed his first hunter jacket at Designersblock London 2010. After graduating from Central St. Martins his project developed, this is what he showed last week at Somerset House during the London Design Festival.
Illegal poaching, hunting and human population pressure are threatening the survival of many animal species including the iconic Rhino, the Tiger, the Mountain Gorilla, the Asian Elephant and the Saiga Antelope. The project 'Embodying ethics : Endangered' aims to inform the issue of extinction of these critical endangered species.
By designing a series of hunting jackets that turn into representations of the animal under threat, reminds us of our complicity in the problem. As merely a fashion item, there is a sense in which the hunter jacket empowers without guilt, but then it reminds us of the ultimate source of this potency- the act of slaying a living creature and transforming it into an object, a decorative accessory, a trophy. Rather than condemning the hunter outright, they enable us to recognise the hunter in ourselves.
The aim is to create a disturbing experience that moves from aesthetics to moral reflexion. There is a sense in which these objectified creatures, neutered by the taxidermist’s art, come back to haunt us.