Street cred on a bike? For most Darlington teenagers, the bike is something to leave behind with your childhood. But in a lot of European towns and cities, the bike is a mark of cool, a fashion statement that also gives young people independence from their parents and public transport. DMG’s Beauty and the Bike invited teenage girls from Darlington to join their counterparts in a cycle-friendly city, Bremen in Germany, to explore their own ideas of street fashion – and whether the bike can play a part. A number of the group travelled to Bremen over Easter 2009 to meet their German co-participants, and a return visit to Darlington took place that summer.
After a year of documenting, the Media group released a 55 minute film on DVD and a two-language book in December 2009, with the launch in Darlington featuring an exhibition of the photographs of Phil Dixon and Sabine Bungert. Since then, the film has been screened across four continents, and continues to inspire cycling advocates from Wellington, New Zealand to Prague to California.
Out of the project in Darlington, a dutch bike rental scheme has been born, working from the Media Workshop.