The Fashion Professorship aims to rethink the cracks in the fashion system and the role that fashion plays – and could potentially play – in relation to urgent social, cultural, environmental and political developments in contemporary society. We envision an alternative and more engaged future of fashion in which we do more justice to fashion’s human dimension. Through research, design and critical thinking, we analyse and develop alternative approaches, systems, vocabularies and strategies. In doing so, we aim to activate the power of fashion to reimagine future bodies, future materials and future makers to contribute to resilient futures and inclusive societies.
The fashion industry focuses mostly on designer status and brand identity. It portrays garments as the magical results of invisible processes. It worships values such as originality and ‘the new’. In general, fashion might be experienced as something that others do, something that is not for everyone. Although it is perceived in this way, fashion is actually already a collective practice. In daily life, we can find the simple example of everyone wearing clothes. Fashion is something we all participate in. Collective Clothes actively accelerates this idea by inviting everyone to JOIN.
Collective Clothes is a design and research project which explores fashion as a collective practice, focusing on making and wearing clothes together. In this project, everyone is invited to make a single piece of a garment. Together, the pieces made by various makers create a whole outfit.
The essential tool of the project is an open source modular system that consists of four different shapes: top (J), sleeve (O), trouser- leg (I) or part of a skirt (N). Every shape is an addition to a growing collection of clothing-pieces that can be assembled into a variety of garments. A manual guides the maker through the process of making one of the four different shapes. Each piece, made by someone else, can easily be assembled, exchanged and re-assembled.
The possibility for everyone to join in as a maker, and then to re-arrange the pieces of each outfit as a designer and wearer, playfully but critically questions the characteristics of the fashion system.
The garment as a set of shapes, a collection of pieces, can be seen as a metaphor for the (fast) fashion system. By deconstructing the garment into parts and translating it into a modular system of loose and exchangeable elements, JOIN Collective Clothes turns the garment into a fluid object. What if we open up the fashion system and explore it as a non-fixed entity, a system where people can playfully join in, where everyone is invited to produce fashion together? The de-assembled garment as a system offers an alternative perspective from which we can question the ways in which fashion is produced. JOIN Collective Clothes therefore doesn’t only explore the technical side of producing a garment but also characteristic values in fashion such as ownership, identity, originality and authenticity.
By opening up the production of clothes and inviting everyone to join, JOIN Collective Clothes enables a playful and fluid exploration of what clothes and fashion can be. JOIN Collective Clothes shows the importance of collaboration and therefore opens up new perspectives on today’s fashion system.
Hereby an overview of workshops you can participate in:
— 1 June 2019: @de_appel / Amsterdam
— 7 July 2019: @capsicumtextiles / Amsterdam
— July 2019: @museum.arnhem / Arnhem
— September 2019: @whereiscasco/ Utrecht
— October 2019: @dutchdesignweek / Eindhoven
— November 2019: @fashionclash_festival / Maastricht
JOIN Collective Clothes is a project by Anouk Beckers in collaboration with Beau Bertens.