The Suitable World is an adventure story blending travel, fashion and history within a reality-show premise: one man, one specially designed three-piece suit worn continuously for 28 days across extremes of weather, geography and social conditions. The project culminates at a three-star Michelin restaurant with the suit (hopefully) in presentable condition.
As a T.V. program, The Suitable World is envisioned as a single episode with a three-part narrative arc;
- Climax/wrap up
The design phase establishes the challenge of pulling together the ultimate, “Bond-like” outfit; a suit that is as comfortable in a kayak as it is in a board-room. It offers many rich detours into the history of suits, geeking out on classic detailing and modern technology (teflon-coated wool!), and the colorful London craftsmen who are putting the outfit together.
The journey follows the suit in every conceivable context - riding a horse (or camel), cycling, hiking, kayaking and so on. The journey creates striking visuals and an opportunity to engage with local communities and landscape.
From top left: Working at an organic farm, kayaking the West Fjords, Hiking the canyon lands of the South, new lamb on a farm in the East, an Icelandic food tasting in Isafjordour
Every trial needs a climax or final test. The Suitable World culminates at a three star (or equivalent) Michelin restaurant (with the original designers joining ) where the suit either passes or fails. It is also a chance to reflect upon the project - what lessons have been learned, what deeper truths revealed.
The Suitable World has been through a successful, 28-day proof-of-concept in Iceland (June 2015)
Why this makes for good television.
Compelling ingredients: The Suitable World creates something new from the proven ingredients of travel, fashion and reality-tv (where the risk of failure is ever-present and the outcome unknown). In the same way that cuisine provides a lens through which to explore new cultures (e.g. Anthony Bourdain et al.), The Suitable World uses fashion and art as a means of revealing aspects of a place that are normally hidden to the average tourist.
Deeper relevance: The Suitable World also asks questions that matter today; can we do better with less, can we approach sustainability through the lens of craftsmanship, how does clothing shape our identity and our sense of place, what is the significance of ’travel’ in an increasingly homogenised world built around familiarity, convenience and disposability?
Multichannel applicability: The Suitable World works very well across media. Online and social media support the pre-broadcast phases by following the project in real-time; documenting the challenges and people who are supporting The Suitable World. During the actual trip social media (blog, Facebook, Instagram) create engagement, build interest in the broadcast and provide supporting content after airing. PR support throughout can help drive viewership.
The options are nearly unlimited but here are two.
- Travel the circumference of Iceland. Dramatic scenery, highly varied activities. Having made this journey for the proof of concept, we have very strong contacts with the tourism bureau and many artists and adventurers across the island. Gathering great content and experiences would be fairly straightforward. Ideal time is early summer: June.
- From North Africa to Paris. A more ambitious route through Morocco, Spain and France. The benefits of such a route are the wider cross-cultural opportunities and arriving at the “home” (Paris) of sartorial discernment which raises the stakes on the challenge. Ideal time: early Fall (Late October)