maandag 17 juli 2017

Highlights from the 27th Amsterdam Fashion Week

Barbara Langendijk
27th edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week took place from July 13 - 16 at the Westergasfabriek.
The mostly dominated by young designers and new comers the schedule contained many fresh shows and fresh proposals.

FASHIONCLASH attended several shows, among them there where presentations by some FASHIONCLASH talents such as Juliette Heijnen who showed her 'No Phobia' collection at FASHIONCLASH Festival two weeks ago.

The fashion week was opened with a intriguing presentation by the bespoke Das Leben Am Haverkamp collective.
Following there was a beautiful presentation by Barbara Langendijk in collaboration with Noon Passama. Other successful proposals where by M.E.N., Klaudia Stavreva, Liesbeth Sterrenburg and Maison the Faux.

Next to the show one of the highlights was the Future Generation Utopia exhibition curated by Peter Leferink. This exhibition featured installations by Marlou Breuls, Sunna Chandry Koning, Karlijne Opmeer, Pleun van Dijk and Lotte van Dijk with her Atelier project. Lotte was one of the finalists at the Hyères Festival this year.

The summer edition is known for Lichting show, 14 best graduates of the fashion academies in the Netherlands are selected to show their collections. Lizzy Stuyfzand won the jury prize, and Sarah Bruylant won the public award. Karlijn Krijger and Lise van Wetten where selected to represent  MAFAD, the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design.

https://fashionweek.nl

donderdag 13 juli 2017

PRE-STIMULIS - Opening FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

PRE-STIMULIS
A project by FASHIONCLASH & MAFAD, in collaboration with the Maastricht Academy of Performing Arts
The opening of FASHIONCLASH Festival took place on Thursday 29th of June at the Forza Fashion House in the LAB Building/Het Radium. This was also the official opening of the The Forza Fashion House, the new breeding ground for creative, cultural and entrepreneurial Maastricht and also the new FASHIONCLASH office. Directed by theatre makers Joost Horward and Nina Willems the evening contained interdisciplinary performances and installations by students from MAFAD and Maastricht Academy of Performing Arts.

PRE-STIMULIS Project
Specially for the opening of the festival, FASHIONCLASH teamed up with MAFAD (Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design). In the context of the new design curriculum ‘BODY, OBJECT & MATERIAL’, the second-year BODY design students were assigned to do artistic research on the ‘senses’ in relation to the festival’s theme 'Fashion Makes Sense'. In addition, each student has been connected to one or two students from the Maastricht Academy of Performing Arts. Based on the research of the design students, each team developed a concept in which they expressed their vision and findings on the ‘senses’ and new ways how to create an enriched embodied experience for the audience.

Marcel van Kan (MAFAD) and Branko Popovic (FASHIONCLASH), togehter with Joost Horward and Nina Willems coached the students during the proces of research and execution of the performances. The project concluded in nine participatory installations / performances.

Participants Students MAFAD: Ashley Luypaers, Max Niereisel, María Voth Velasco, Michelle Cornelissen, Dana Lipka, Julina Bezold, Natalia Rumiantseva, Empar Juanes Sanchis

Students the Maastricht Academy of Performing Arts: Anthony van Gog, Nora Ramakers, Diederik Kreike, Izak Berman, Luca Meisters, Anna Luca da Silva, Maarten Heijnens, Caro Derkx, Mees Walter, Maxime Dreesen, Anoek Oostermeijer

Photography: Team Peter Stigter

1. Michelle Cornelissen & Nora Ramakers
H2O  (ρ = m / V + 70 °C) - sin α = 1 . λ/d (c=f.λ)
Colour Fluctus, part 9

Colour Fluctus part 9 registers an unique footprint, captured by colour. The movement, translated by the pigments, shows a timetable and controls the colours and patterns. The impact of the movement becomes visible once the colour is poured into the water. At the same time, we archive and measure the body movements as manifestations of emotions. The pattern is a memory of this particular moment and tells a story about one's character.  
Performers: Laura Hogeweg, Froukje de Boer, Nora Ramakers, Michelle Cornelissen


Eva Růžičková at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017


Jewelry designer Eva Růžičková from Czech Republic took part at the designer market at FASHIONCLASH Festival.
She is selected at DesignSUPERMARKET in Prague in December.

Eva graduaged at Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (VSUP) in the studio K.O.V. led by Eva Eisler.
 She likes experimenting with nature materials and technology. Material, shape variations and attention to detail are important elements of her projects.
In her latest project called TIME LAPSE she works with the perception of time, in this case as a journey and process.

 „I was working with the rhythm, cycle, repetition and continuity and also with the returnig to my last projects. I used hammering as a technology which counts by bouncing every moment as well as a rythm of a body. And also I used remaining materials from my last project as a ebony wood, cedar wood, cork, slate, silver and cuper. I perceive jewelry as a deeply personal statement, something very close to the body. Birth, Growth, Balance, Physicality and Emotion are the key principles for me, which I would always like to include in my work” 

Participation is made possible thanks to Czech Centre / Tsjechisch Centrum.

www.evaruzickova.com
www.facebook.com/EvaRuzickovaCreativeDesign

Photography: Eliška Šárková


dinsdag 11 juli 2017

Fashion Talks at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

Looking back to inspiring Fashion Talks 
at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

"We live in a rapidly changing world where progress is accompanied by environmental pollution and ethical issues. The fashion world is a mighty billion industry, and like no other is able to create an illusion and seduce us humans and excite our senses. Today's fashion industry is a reflection of society with a strong focus on aesthetics. Our society approaches fashion as a purely visual phenomenon and doesn’t always see the nature of the interaction with the body (of the wearer), despite the fact that fashion is the most intimate form of art, as it is literally worn “on the body”! As a second skin, clothing also enables us to express ourselves and helps us make sense of the world."
- FASHIONCLASH Team

(Does) Fashion Makes Sense? was the question posed during the 9th edition of FASHIONCLASH Festival. Although there is no answer that can satisfy this broad and complex question the panel at the  Fashion Talks provided positive food for thoughts.
Moderated by Saskia van Stein, artistic director at Bureau Europa, a stage was given to a several festival participants and professionals to engage in a discussion about the topic.
The first talk focused more on the senses and the body. Followed by talk that engaged a more broader view on the industry. Does fashion 'as an industry' make sense.

lecture performance Olle Lundin & Floriane Misslin 
Before the talks started, Olle Lundin and Floriane Misslin, provided the perfect introduction with their joint lecture performance.
By extracting postures and re-contextualizing them Olle Lundin hopes to denaturalize the body-language of high fashion. By doing this he has the intention to show the norms, ideals and invisible expectations that are inherent in the visual language discourse of high fashion advertising today! Floriane Misslin focusses on portraying non-binary identities in the mainstream media.  In the Fashion Makes Sense LAB she presented her current project ‘Uni-Sex’.

The speakers Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati talked about their 'Sensewear' project. Their primary purpose is to stimulate and improve awareness of our senses, while training us to better use them all. Some Sensewear items are designed to mute physical sensations, some to sharpen them. The collection is inspired by therapies applied to Sensory Processing Disorders and developed with the technical support of therapists assisting people affected with autism. Anxiety, stress, panic attack are most typical autism’s symptoms but more and more people suffers them, therefore the collection is not addressed only to people with disabilities but it is aiming at enhancing everyone busy urban life.

Designer Sepideh Ahadi explained how she works and talked about her slow fashion approach. As a designer, Sepideh feels the responsibility to invite her audience to think about fashion in a different and more interactive way through her designs.


Carolyn Mair, the Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience, became an 'instant darling' with her point of view and knowledge.
She developed the MA Psychology for Fashion Professionals and MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion at LCF.
Another expert that shared her knowledge was Rosemarie Ruigrok. After selling her own company, Promax Corporate Fashion, she worked at Amnesty International, Fair Wear Foundation and as CSR consultance at Elsewear Foundation, known by “Green is the new black and as International cotton manager for Fairtrade. In 2007 Roosmarie founded Clean & Unique.

Another speaker was local designer Ebby Port, who expressed her challenges as being a young designer who wants to change the world but feels not as responsible, her statement was that the big companies should take the lead and take responsibility.

Jeffrey Heiligers and Eva Wagensveld talked about their project online platform SHI[R]T.
"The psychology behind fashion has become less about quality or durabilty and more about being fast, cheap and easy to replace. Does fashion make sense if the quality of the products is high, labour conditions are good and the environmental impact is minimal? In other words: Do you want to buy a shit-shirt, or rather invest in something fair?"

On Friday night they presented a participatory performance in the fashion show program, stirring the audience by literally facing a mirror to everyone.
Several members from the audience were randomly invited on the runway who were then donned with mirrored panels on their chest and back. Mirrors were then held up to seated guests, as questions such as “Do you buy because you can?” and “How come that a sandwich is cheaper than a sweater?” echoed in the background.

Photography Sem Shayne, FASHIONCLASH

Future Petroleum by Annika Kappner at Marres

Future Petroleum by Annika Kappner at Marres during FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017
Future Petroleum by Annika Kappner is an installation performance adapted for The Painted Bird at Marres to create a multi-sensorial tableau vivant that envelops the viewers. The work explores the layering of perception and the consumption of experiences offered by the fashion and entertainment industries, the corporate world and the art world. It wonders what form of energy source the vast stream of images that are created and consumed on a daily basis will eventually yield.

Annika Kappner (DE, 1980) crafts multi-sensory experiences in the extended field of painting, by reverting principles of virtual and digital realities into the analogue realm to create glitches in perception. Prompted by her experience as an investment banker, her work targets the evolution of consciousness in relation to mental patterns and the underlying forces that shape their systemic counterparts in nature, visual arts, technology and science. She is a co-founder of the cross-modal artist collective Elephants & Volcanoes.

Performers: Fina Anjou (SE), Nicola Baratto (IT), Karolien Buurman (NL), Arie de Fijter (BE), Aurélien Lepetit (FR).

Future Petroleum is made with the support of the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts). The performance is part of Fashion Makes Sense, the 9th edition of FASHIONCLASH Festival in Maastricht (June 29 – July 2).

All pictures by Karen Kikkert

Dreams and Nightmares of Europe

The Painted Bird is a joint art work by Marie Aly, Cian Yu Bai, Bonno van Doorn, Kim David Bots, Gijs Frieling, Natasja Kensmil Klaas Kloosterboer, Mirthe Klück, Frank Koolen, Fiona Lutje House, Charlott Markus, Kalle Mattsson, Jan the Pavert, Tanja Ritterbex Sam Samiee, Charlotte Schleiffert, Derk Thijs, Sarah Verbeek, Helen Verhoeven, Evi Vingerling and Job Wouters.

Europe 2017. Are we dancing on a volcano? Are renewed nationalism, xenophobia, the distrust of politics and democracy, the arrival of refugees, and economic insecurity preparing us for a terrible meltdown? It is well possible. It shouldering give us hope for this project, since the best art is produced on the verge of despair, When civilizations crumble and we’re about to shift into a new world order.

Marres Maastricht produced a spectacular mural about Europe by nineteen artists who have painted all rooms, corridors, the stairwell, floors and ceilings of the historic Marres House. Having a surface area of ​​about 750 m2, the painting depicts a series of beautiful and frightening environments, zoals a high-tech clone supermarket, the last surviving piece of primeval forest, a Berlin love and hippie fest space, a spider portrait corridor, a new life festival in the year 2050. Gijs Frieling directed the modern Gesamtkunstwerk. The artists Frank and Kim Koolen David Bots developed a comprehensive soundtrack, and Charlott Markus and Kalle Mattsson make a publication.

The exhibition is part of the series of immersive exhibits at Marres previous instalments or How many followers included The Winter Anti Depression Show (2014) and Levi Veluw: The Relativity of Matter (2015).

http://www.marres.org

zondag 9 juli 2017

Zarvich from Uruguay

Meet Zarvich, a new brand from Uruguay, formed by designers Vivian Sulimovich and Florencina Gómez de Salazar. They have won Lumina 11 contest by Punta Carretas in Montevideo. Their price was participation at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017 in Maastricht.
They presented their stunning collection Fungi.


How would you define fashion?
Florencia: Fashion is indefinite and volatile; it presents infinite options and changes constantly. It is a reflection of our society; an act of expression. For us designers, it is an exercise of sensitivity that helps us transform an ideal into something material. It has to do with beauty, tradition, luxury… but also with dreams.
Vivian: Fashion is one of the institutions that creates meaning. It compiles a sociological document that deals with the sensitivity of an era; with the important causes of social change and dominant lifestyles.




What fascinates/inspires you and why?
Florencia: Everything that surrounds us can be a source of inspiration; it depends on the sensitivity with which we perceive it. There is not one thing or person in particular. We always have to be alert and surprised by the world around us.
Vivian: My inspiration shifts and is usually related to daily life’s necessities. In an aesthetic level, I am often seduced by architecture.

Finding your own distinctive voice can be difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity (before you start designing/during the design process)?
Florencia: I think creativity has to be trained and the only way to generate something different is through experimentation, and that takes a lot of work. Any path is a challenge; we live in a very competitive world. We have to celebrate difficulties because that is what pushes us to become the best version of ourselves. If you want results, you have to go the extra mile to stand out. You sacrifice a lot, but it is worth it.

What challenges did you face during the design process?
Florencia: Not having a team to carry out the work efficiently; one that has the appropriate technical knowhow and that you can trust will deliver in a satisfactory and timely manner.
Vivian: The most difficult part usually is managing the project; to coordinate the different work teams and ensure everyone delivers in due time and form.


Maarten van Mulken wins RADIKAL FASHION FILM AWARD 2017

Maastricht based designer Maarten van Mulken won the RADIKAL FASHION FILM AWARD 2017 by Pascal Baillien

Radikal Film is an experienced creative film studio of director Pascal Baillien. Recently nominated for the Berlin Fashion Film festival and very experienced in productions, that bring music, art and fashion together, he has a strong ability and vision to translate stories into film.

Together with Maarten they will create a new fashion film that will premiere in November during the FFFF - FASHIONCLASH Fashion Film Festival (3 and 4 November 2017 in Maastricht).

www.radikalfilm.tv

Maarten van Mulken show at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017, photography Team Peter Stigter

Coffee Break Story #5

Together with our partner Coffeelovers we will be sharing a Coffee Break Story almost every Sunday as of the 4th of June! 5 Local designers who are part of FabricAge will be sharing their “Cup of Inspiration” and “What tickles their fashion senses”. 

Our last Coffee Break is with: 

Maarten van Mulken | www.maartenvanmulken.co | WINNER RADIKAL FASHION FILM AWARD 2017

Maarten Van Mulken, 26, is a Dutch fashion designer living in Maastricht. Last year he graduated from the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts & Design (MAFAD). This year he will be introducing his new womenswear collection at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017. Next to creating own collections, he is working as a costume designer for a theatre, which fits perfectly with how he likes to design. He is thrilled with a project like FabricAge, where nobody is left out, and everyone can participate. Together with the rest of the team, he came up with the design that withholds three different kinds of crafts, creating a ‘gesammtkunstwerk’.

Photo: Team Peter Stigter



donderdag 6 juli 2017

LAGOM by MIJ x MILA HALIZOVA


Dance performance "LAGOM" brings the art of contemporary dance and fashion on the stage to speculate on consumption. Consumerism in everyday life, creativity and consciousness. Minimalist aesthetics in a confrontation with a perversion of excess. What is the highest level of consumption and where it could bring you? Through dance exploration, plastic experiments and various techniques of contemporary and urban dance MIJ asks these questions and comes to an unexpected answers from the side of art. One of the most essential part of our work is the outfit: its absence or presence, minimalism or overbalance, preciseness or mess. Clothes become a metaphor of the main idea and are designed by young Russian designer Mila Halizova, the follower of minimalist style, non-linear forms and restraint based on the idea of «Deceptive simplicity». What is LAGOM? We explore different cultures and their attitude to life, art, design, space, way of thinking and consumerism to find an ultimate example of relationship between human and nature, human and society, human and its inner world. Lagom is a uniquely Swedish term, that doesn’t have an English equivalent. Popular etymological translation is “around the team” meaning enough food or drink for everyone at the table. Lagom is “Just enough,” “Not too much or too little,” “Just right,” “Enough to go around,” “Fair share”. It indicates balance. The value of "just enough" can be compared to the idiom "less is more”.

Photos: Team Peter Stigter



Raya van der Kroon - Pretty Exposed

Pretty Exposed performance by Raya van der Kroon presented in the Fashion Makes Sense LAB, during the Afterparty of FASHIONCLASH Festival Pretty Exposed is a project by Raya van der Kroon, featuring designers Nine Parre - Deniece Clermonts & performers Emma Haniotis Riccetto - Aziza Prameswara - Vanessa Ntinu. ‘Is female nakedness in nightlife clothing a result of sexualisation or female empowerment?’ As an i-Arts graduate I dove into the history of unclothing, the growth of new feminism, and the use of nakedness as a tool for either protest or attraction. Engaging into highly revealing sceneries - the nightlife of Amsterdam and of Rio de Janeiro - I concluded that my vision on contemporary femininity is a fusion of both places and their characteristics. Whereas Amsterdam is trying to re-incorporate femininity into feminism, Rio is striving for more social equality within their sensual culture: both are longing for a balance between sexiness and empowerment. The balance and combination of the terms is the core of this work: the visualization of the sensual feminist, the combination of Amsterdam and Rio. This idea is translated into a nightlife clothing collection, presented through an immersive performance, a magazine and exhibition.

Photos: Team Peter Stigter

donderdag 29 juni 2017

Pleun van Dijk - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017


Pleun van Dijk is a young multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Rotterdam. She graduated from The Design Academy Eindhoven and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. By observing and analyzing moments of transition within society she tries to create new thoughts and show a different perspective on a topic. By taking new ideas out of the abstract and giving shape to a possible outcome she wants to give the viewer the possibility to anticipate on the new developments before they sneak up on us.

Pleun doesn't call her work „fashion” in the traditional meaning of the word. Most of her work is about the relations between human body and fashion in the sense of sculpting our body in itself.
Her biggest personal achievement so far has been her graduation project called “Reborn” and the follow up project “Transcience”. Exhibition wise she would say the Graduation show during the Dutch Design week, the For Play exhibition at MU and recently the DAE #tvclerici expo during Salone del Mobile in Milano  were the highlights of her career. At the moment she’s working on some freelance jobs and she is busy finishing her Artist in Residency at Springhouse (Amsterdam), where she started a new research on the future of human procreation. One of the most inspiring and challenging projects Pleun recently did is helping her brother/filmmaker Bram van Dijk with the production of his graduation movie which will be released this summer.
Pleun's biggest struggle as a young designer/artist is to find ways to produce new work. After graduation she realized how hard it is to find the time and focus to dive into a new topic, do a proper research and transform this into a new project. The reality of having a side job and working as a freelancer gives her often the feeling of loosing time and running around between all different projects.
The thing she loves most about her profession, if she had to choose only one thing, would be having the opportunity to give the viewer a new perspective on a certain topic, and make them speculate about certain things by triggering their imagination on possible future scenarios.

A.P.monde - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

photo Christina Stohn
Meet Anja Perisic. She designs Kimonos for her brand A.P.monde, She also designs costumes for stage productions and develops patterns for the brand Ann Demeulemeester. 9 years ago she finished her studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and at the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee. Anja was born in Sarajevo, but grew up in Antwerp, Belgium. She lived in Berlin for a while and now she’s back in Belgium. Anja always knew that she wanted to work in the field of design. She grew up between art galleries and theaters. Choosing to make design her profession felt very natural for her. The real surprise was starting her own business. She has worked for great minds like Ann Demeulemeester, Terry Gilliam, Christoph Waltz and Jan Fabre. But winning Fashion One’s first season of Design Genius gave her the mental and financial boost she needed to create her own brand, so far Anja’s biggest pride and joy. At the moment Anja is designing the next A.P.monde collection. She’s developing patterns for Ann Demeulemeester 2018 and she’s mentoring a master costume design program at the Antwerp Academy. The thing she loves most about her profession is how we need to go through various stages in order to develop a new design. Research, sourcing, drawing, experimenting (when there is time), development of a collection, shoots, marketing, sales, and then it all starts all over again. Each time the journey takes you somewhere new and unexpected. That to Anja is exhilarating.

woensdag 28 juni 2017

SENSES AND FASHION - INSPIRATION


“Fashion is about bodies; it is produced, promoted and worn by bodies. It is the body that fashion speaks to and it is the body that must be addressed in almost all social encounters”  (Entwistle, 2000).

·         “With aging, sensations may be reduced or changed. These changes can occur because of decreased blood flow to the nerve endings or to the spinal cord or brain. The spinal cord transmits nerve signals and the brain interprets these signals.” Pen State Hershey


 “Sensation is fundamental to our experience of the world. Shaped by culture, gender, and class, the senses mediate between mind and the body, idea and object, self and environment.” - The Senses and Society

         "Fashion in the context of art makes sense as an evolving form which offers ongoing exploration in understanding the self and in helping me to create connections with others through shared experience." – Jo Cope

        "The senses are one of the things that make us more sensitive as human beings, connecting us to experiences in an intimate way. The sense of the self and the relationship and development of the inner being and how that might be projected outwardly is explored in some of my work." – Jo Cope

        "Does fashion make sense if the quality of the products is low, the labor conditions are poor and it harms the environment terribly? The psychology behind fashion has become less about quality or durability and more about being fast, cheap and easy to replace." – SHI[R]T.


·         "It is inevitable to think of the human body, in any aspect of fashion, without the relation to the senses. They are meant to be provoked, teased and challenged to a game that will result in pure pleasure." – LUDUS


·         "Clothing is in a close relation to the human body because of its tangibility. Body feels the fabric and decides whether it will accept it or not. When they match, they become one. Clothing and fabrics shape the body reacting differently on each person. Clothing serves the body's appearance and also helps a person to express themselves." – NIKA TOM


·       “Clothing, as an extension of the skin, can be seen both as a heat-control mechanism and a means of defining the self socially.” - Marshall McLuhan


Foam of the days - FASHIONCLASH Festival


Kristina Ivkovic is a young designer from Serbia who recently graduated from the  Academy of Fine Arts Brera, Milan. In 2011, she co-founded Skochypstiks, a parkour clothing brand and she plans on moving to London soon to launch her new brand Foam of the days, which will be showcased for the first time at FASHIONCLASH Festival.


dinsdag 27 juni 2017

IRIS WOUTERA DE JONG - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017


Meet Iris Woutera de Jong, a 25 year old fashion design student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Iris was born in Rotterdam and is currently living in Amsterdam.
Iris plans involve material design for the individual body.  She plans on designing spaces where people can have a sensory experience as well as studying spatial design.
The main achievements in her career are her various performances in a museum in Paris, a hippie festival and other art venues!
At the moment she is touring with DEFORM and DEFORM REFLECT at theatre festivals, garden venues and fashion festivals. After her tour she will focus on ‘Artist in Residence’ program.

You can see Iris's performance on the 30th of June at the Fashion Makes Sense LAB at 20:00 (free entrance) at SAMdecofabriek


maandag 26 juni 2017

Sensewear - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017


Sensewear is an Italian designer duo consisting of Ema and Ivan, both graduates of Polythecnic in Milan . Ema is specialized in furniture and textiles design, but worked in several fields as a trend researcher, strategist, interior designer, and educator. Her expertise encouraged further exploration at the intersection between product design and fashion and gave birth to the sensewear project. Ivan is an industrial designer with a multifaceted experience in product, interior design, furniture, branding, interaction, generative design, and digital fabrication. He is an expert in modular structures and patterns that are used to generate innovative open source products and enhance material performances. We first met in China, where we used to work for the same firm and we have been together in work and life since then. Almost ten years ago we landed in the Arab Emirates where in 2012 we founded Caravan, a design collective with a multidisciplinary approach, whose members share common interests in cultural, material and social aspects of a globalized community, trying to re-establish a balance among being, having and doing. Blending digital-fabrication and artisanal expertise Caravan’s projects aim at creating awareness of heritage to face contemporary challenges. Each work is infused with pragmatic materialism smoothed by subtle metaphors, inspiring its audience reaction alongside empathic participation. Their approach is characterised by strong multidisciplinary and crossbreed process that connects diverse industries towards new unexpected opportunities. Ema and Ivan currently teach design at Ajman University, one of the oldest higher education institution in the United Arabs Emirates.


Sensewear will present their work during the FASHION MAKES SENSE LAB, on June 30 – July 2 at SAM-decorfabriek (free entrance).


Where are you from? Where are you based at this moment?
We are both Italians coming from Lombardy, the region that makes our country worldwide renowned for its vibrant design philosophy and high end industrial manufacturing; although not the typical idyllic postcard of rural golden wheat hills you are used to. We have been based in the United Arab Emirates for 9 years now.

When did you realise you wanted to work in a field of (fashion) design?
In our work we are quite experimental, we try not to get trapped into compartmental definitions, working on the edge of several disciplines. The only constant in our work is the narrative we based our collective on. Caravan is a trip across diverse cultures and media, where the process takes control over the outcome. Whenever we start a project, we don’t know what is going to be in the end, with sensewear it happened to be the same, our objective was to involve sensory therapies in people’s daily activities and a garment collection came up as the most natural solution among several other possibilities. We embraced the challenge with enthusiasm and even though we are not fashion designers, we share the same tools and methodology. We teamed up with professionals working under our direction and in the end we are quite satisfied by the results of the collection and now we are pushing it through an injection of technology to make it responsive.


What are so far your main achievements in your career?
Our collection won several prizes: the Lexus Design Award 2015, the Wearable Technologies Competition at the Venice Design Week 2016, the AXAPPP Health Tech Future Award. We exhibited in Milan, Tokyo, Moscow, Dubai, London and now we are going to be in the Netherland. It’s a great satisfaction although we are aware that there is still a long way to go!

 In what projects are you involved at this moment?
We are mainly working in developing and promoting the sensewear, wearables are becoming the next big thing, but we are also on some collaborative projects with experimental theater performers and we are active in social design, working with disadvantaged communities, a quite mature thematic in Europe, but still underestimated territory of exploration in the Middle East.

What are your biggest struggles as a young designer/artist?
Ehm…young? Trying to escape conventional labels that constrain your work into boundaries of a tiny specific field sometimes makes people diffident about how much focused you are, even because we also renounced to a recognizable signature style it is difficult to grow an organic audience. Still we believe the worst struggle is to find financial support for experimental non for profit projects.


What do you love the most about your profession?
Our profession is our passion and our life. We strongly believe underestimated design’s potential could make a big change in everyone life rather than being just a luxurious patina on the top of ordinary products. Design give us the possibility to satisfy our curiosity, to explore everyday new environments, new techniques, new materials, new media, new places and new people that in the end are the real objective of our projects.
 

How would you define fashion?
Fashion is the real foundation of popular culture since it is the most immediate way to communicate and express yourself. In some regions homologation makes it a standardized status statement that sometime becomes vulgar exhibitionism, expression of wealth without culture. Luckily the fashion system as we know it, basing its success on such extravagances, started to show its limits and other more grounded experiences are becoming sensibly prominent on scene, Fashion Clash is one of them.

What fascinates/inspires you and why?
People, nature, math and chemistry, all the biggest contradiction in life are really a great source of inspiration that help us understanding the complexity we are living in. Dubai and the Emirates are full of such contradictions, the tallest buildings in the worlds are towering on narrow traditional alleys were deliveries comes on hand pushed carts; sometimes you might start your trip on a 7 lanes motorway that narrows down to an unpaved rural road with cows and camels crossing your way; sometimes you could feel being in a Swiss financial district and in a matter of minutes you could find yourself transported in Calcutta.

Finding your own distinctive voice can be difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity (before you start designing/during the design process)?
Design as a drawing activity is the last resource, narration, discussion, storytelling, scouting, researching, documenting. Empathy, when you establish that contact than you know you have the right motivation to do a great job.

What challenges did you face during the design process?
People they don’t want to embrace challenge sometimes and they talk to designer with already something in their mind; they just need someone to visualize it. To makes them confident and reassure about your competence it is important to get out of any misunderstanding.

What do you want to communicate with your work in general?
Design is for all! …and fashion too!

Can you tell us something about the project you will present at the FASHIONCLASH Festival?
Sensewear is a collection of clothes and accessories that emphasize the use of senses. Their primary purpose is to stimulate and improve awareness of our senses, while training us to better use them all. Some Sensewear items are designed to mute physical sensations, some to sharpen them. The collection is inspired by therapies applied to Sensory Processing Disorders and developed with the technical support of therapists assisting people affected with autism. Anxiety, stress, panic attack are most typical autism’s symptoms but more and more people suffers them, therefore the collection is not addressed only to people with disabilities but it is aiming at enhancing everyone hectic urban life. The aim of the project is to design an inclusive collection that could be attractive and wearable by anyone and does not stigmatize a person affected by a disorder. 

Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival? 
Because our design will definitely seem out of place at any conventional fashion show, as much as at a regular healthcare business fair. Since contamination, not to be confused with weirdness, is our playground we found ourselves perfectly in line with FASHIONCLASH mission.

FASHIONCLASH is already working on future themes. What are the topics you find interesting?
Inclusive design, design for all, wearables, contamination among fashion and furniture, multipurpose, habitable garments, transformable, magnetic, performing costumes, cross cultures, cross-religions, emergency, hi-tech nomadism.

What are your thoughts regarding ‘religion and fashion’?
Very interesting question! We are living in Dubai, a place where 200 nationalities are co-existing, and among them a lot of different religions! I believe fashion has no boundaries even though, sometimes fashion and religion can really challenge each other.



             Does fashion makes sense to you?  
Recently fashion in general is a big mess and I’m looking for some sense in the product I buy and design. Unfortunately fashion is one of the most polluted industries and I hope new generations can make a difference!

What are your thoughts on making ‘fashion’ more environmentally-friendly?
Ah! That’s what I’ve meant! It’s a real emergency!

What are your thoughts on the senses in relation to the human body?
Well sensewear express fully this answer!

Do you think that fashion can contribute to a better world / better well-being, and what do you do to make a difference?
We design products that can improve people’s life.

What senses are engaged in your creation process?
We try to include all of them, but I believe the most important is touch.


How does technology change your creation process?
Technology is a very important source of inspiration. Ideas can come from technological innovations, new production teschnologies, new materials. We like to be experimental and we usually try to link new technologies to old craft.

 What’s a standard day for you?
Up by 7, breakfast, late to Viola’s school by 8 (Viola is our daughter), late to work by 9, late lunch by 2, we are constantly living on an average 15 minute late, will catch up on Sunday! Insha’allah!

Vegan, vegetarian, healthy diet or any food will do?
We tried gluten, diary, eggs free, but what a sacrifice and what to do with our last compulsive grocery?

What’s your favourite song at the moment?
OK GO – the one moment. The video clip is amazing as all their previous ones. (ivan)

Best Tv-show/movie at the moment?
Black Mirror

What is your bad habit?
Ivan smokes! Ema hates the smell of cigarettes!

Are you a people's person or a loner?
We love to have guests and cook for them.

Do you have a pet?
Better not to, since we are living in the desert. We enjoy camels in our backyard!

Your favourite quote?
Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein

What’s your favourite city?
Every time we visit a new one we fall in love with it…this summer we’ll find our next crash

What/Who do you miss the most when you are not at home?
Food!

If you could move anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I’m not lying if I say The Netherlands!! I feel it’s a good place to live. Amsterdam gives me the idea that it is a human scale city where you can live well either single or as a family

What do you enjoy the most in life?
Exploring the culinary landscape of every country and how it relates to culture and language

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate!

Who is your biggest example/idol?
Yves Behar, Victor Papanek, Buckminster Fuller, Madonna, Dolce & Gabbana.

Favourite magazine?
Frame, Monocle… Unfortunately, we lack independent magazines in UAE.

Your favourite hashtags #?
#

You favorite social media app?
Instagram, zomato

Instagram account you think deserves more attention?
Jahnk0y very inspiring work!

                   Find more about Ema and Ivan's work here: sensewear
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