The Skin colours of the world project by Reineke Otten is a series of scarves designed for each country with data that has been collected on the skin colours throughout that country and then designed in a visually interesting product. From her field study in Visual Sociology she has recorded a range of data to reveal the social patterns and orders within these countries to generate beautiful display of detail. The data has been collected over a long period of time with a range of primary sources such as; The World Fact Book, the pantone color system, data from Internet, interviews with dermatologists, research by cosmetic companies, thousands of images of people, and her intuition.
The World Skin Colours scarves turn this data into a visual language, and then into fashion. translates gathered statistics about migration, population density, temperature, UV radiation, GDP, and transport into a graphic code: the numerical grid of an Excel sheet becomes shape, colour, and pattern in eight overlapping layers. Each layer represents a different factor influencing the composition of skin tones in a particular place.
Each of the 231 scarves is unique because each country generates its own data. The scarves reveal relationships, histories, and patterns of populations; they tell stories that you can fold, twist, drape, hang, or wear; stories to contemplate, discuss, or retell.
Reineke created the conditions for these layers of information to interact visually. The beauty, for me, lies in the surprises — the unexpected ways in which these shapes and colors come together.