Fashion Fabulation: Serpica Naro at Milan Fashion Week 2005

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Time in Fashion: industrial, antilinear and uchronic temporalities, 2020, pp. 144-152
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Ilaria Vanni writes about the fictional fashion designer Serpica Naro, an anagram of the name for San Precario , the fictitious patron saint of precarious workers. Vanni describes the shenanigans got up to by Serpica Naro (in reality the activist group Chainworkers assisted by sundry precarious workers in the fashion industry), including having the designer admitted to Milan Fashion week, and then getting as much publicity as possible through the various stunts they engineered throughout the city. Vanni brings academic research based in design activism to bear on the concept of fabulation. Drawing on the work of design theorist Daniela K. Rosner, she argues that critical fabulation is a speculative proposal for a better way to live (and work) in the present and the future: it involves ‘the imagination of fashion practices to come that might still be otherwise’. Serpica Naro’s intervention, then, is an alternate history of Milan fashion week achieved through activism and intervention rather than writing or other forms of polemic. In this sense, the group’s activities represent the future anterior tense of activism. As Vanni demonstrates, Serpica Naro’s uchronic temporality gave a voice to Milanese activists, showing how the actions of a fi ctional character can have real impact through collective action.
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