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Wearing feelings

Fashion is like a blank canvas. The brush always paints something enough entertaining, but not too outlandish, along with the right colours and shapes for the now. It is about merging something new, something old and something borrowed. Maybe fashion is like a wedding, except it never stays faithful, at least for long. 

What if fashion would not be about the newest, the finest nor the richest? What if it would be more about the actual act of wearing clothes? In this case, in my opinion, what would really matter is how and why we wear them. In most cases Im sure people would say, ”I wear this because I love the way it makes me feel and it’s comfortable”,  ”I wear this because I bought it from Italy and now I really miss the place. Ohh, the food and the fashion!” or maybe they would say, ”I wear this because it reminds me of the 80’s, I’m totally into the 80’s now”. Could it be that actually people do wear clothes for the pure joy of feeling good? Mostly wearing clothing that we are attached to makes us feel something. For example, the feeling could be about comfort, uniqueness, attraction, extravagance or nostalgia. Wouldn’t this point out that the most significant clothing are the ones with most sentimental value to them, such as knits with lumps of tuft on them, the jeans of faded blue and the worn out leather jackets. Therefore, we might be people who carry the personal memories in the clothing we wear. This does not necessarily mean that everyone walks around in total rags, but there’s something about personal memories and fashion. I must investigate. 

I feel most comfortable wearing this old knit from a Parisian vintage store. I love Paris. 

My story

The structure of my family can be said to be truly female orientated, charged with a sharp feminine spirit. My family consists of my mother, father, my two older sisters and me. Having such a magnified feminine influence in my childhood home has propably affected me more than I know. My father, being the only masculine figure in the family has, in his quiet way, integrated a descreet male balance into the rhythm of family life. Probably, if the balance of femininity and masculinity was different I would be also different, at least in some way. My first idea of what is feminine came from stories of beautiful princesses, as I was always fascinated by fairytales and these exquisite characters. They were beautiful, fragile, soft and sensitive. Also, mythical in an admirable way. So, as an enchated little girl I was surrounded with all of these feminine figures, real and fantasy, I found it quite natural to indulge into colours of soft pink, tender fabrics, colorful flowers, as well as into my daydreams. I was often living in a fiction world and experiencing life in a tremendously inspiring and imaginary way. 
I remember a straw hat with flowers on it. It was usually worn for a special occasion and matched with a lace collar shirt, a flowery skirt, long ribbon socks and patent leather shoes. This was the ultimate feminine when I was three years old. Looking at the picture of my two sisters and me wearing the same kind of outfits makes me think of how feminity was something to be worn and to be appeared in. Most often, I was experiencing a sense of femininity, which was familiar in its sweet and sensitive way. I wonder, if this was something all little girls were exposed to or did it run in the family?
In good time, all this changed into the most exaggarated baggy pants, Nirvana themed shirts and unreasonable techno prints. It was about the numerous hair colours, weekly changing styles and all possible experimental trends. Fashion tastes vanished as quickly as they appeared. Much later, in my mid 20’s I made peace with fashion. It was the beginning of an intriguing friendship and it was to change everything. Fashion became an ancient enemy, as well as a new friend. Fashion permanently became to represent change. This was the kind change that timelessly and endlessly demonstrates vitality, new discoveries of aesthetics and continuesly effects all senses. This relationship between change and fashion became the most fascinating, stimulating and engaging approach to look at, not only women, but all human beings on earth who wear clothing and give them a social meaning. 
Everyone has a story to tell with clothing. If it is not paraded and displayed on the street, it is hanging in their closet. 

I am on the left wearing the straw hat, posing with my elder sisters.

The very idea of fashion involves reference to the idea of constant change and it is therefore incompatible with the idea of revolution as a complete and final change in terms of a complete and once-and-for-all change in conditions and circumstances is to misunderstand the nature of the problem.

Fashion as revolution?

Fashion as Communication, Malcolm Barnard, Routledge, 2002

Fashion ♥ Art, A passionate affair, will show how attire is used by powerful women to stand out from the crowd and how art has often been a major source of inspiration for dress designers. Designed by Maarten Spruyt, it will include creations by Liberty, Sonia Delaunay, Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy.

3 September 2011 - 8 January 2012 at the Geemente Museum in the Hague, Netherlands

Rhythm of Fashion

When looking at the past 150 years, we can see substancial changes in society and rapid progress not only in things such as technology and science, but also sensational changes in fashion. Simply just by observing social culture today, it seems that the accelerated patterns of life have effected the fashion culture as well and its fast paced cycles, which seem to act as a response to the quickening of timeThe rhythms of the various fashions, which are manifested at least two times every year at fashion weeks around the world are an illustration of the fleeting essence of fashion today. When the present season arrives to the shops for the consumer, it is already seen as passé. Because fashion really only exists in the moment in its own unique ephemerality, it can be seen as only a temporary and a brief experience. Coco Chanel once expressed fashion in its optimum state as only to exist in the most transient way. ‘The more ephemeral fashion is, the more perfect it is. You couldn’t possibly protect that which is already dead.’ To Chanel, fashion survives only in the moments and in the ephemerality of time. 

Today, as fashion follows the seasonal changes and the past fashions are buried under the luminousity of the latest mania, the character of temporality in fashion culture becomes obvious. Moreover, the fashion models are younger by the minute, the lifespan of clothing is shorter and shorter, and the rush to consume becomes a race about who gets to wear the most up-to-date garments first.Therefore, as fashion culture seems to experience all these indications of a fast paced society, the compression of its own existence can be seen as a symptom of the quickening of time itself. If fashion exists ephemeraly in a constant state of rebirth and continual incarnation, it is resisting the natural flow of life by revolting against time. Being a newborn endlessly is most definitely a struggle and a doomed performance. Once fashion matures and grows into the new emerging feminine values of intuition, intangibility and harmony, it will initiate more enduring and positive experiences and aspects into the whole fashion culture, consumerism and to the followers of fashion, without clashing with time and the natural cycles of conscious living. 

Fashion Now

Fashion, as an ensemble of many influences and as a hybrid of numerous references devotes itself to continuous change. Today, it seems that fashion has experienced all there is to experience, and one can find it immensely difficult to see any untouched topics for a new revolution or a transformation. The contemporary developments in fashion might not be manifested in a straight forward or a visual manner, but rather, in a way which is more connected to the aspects of the inner being. Fashion now, is more likely to act as a reflection of new ideals and values, which are connected to intimate creativity or the intuitive approach towards clothing. For example, the emergence of inuitive design and new luxury can both be seen as a consequence of the economic crisis and are here to enforce a new discourse in contemporary consumption and communication. Francesco Morace defines the emergence of new luxury in the essay, The Dynamics of Luxury and Basic-ness in Post-crisis Fashion as a changeover from status luxury to a more distinctive experience, which embraces beyond the surface and offers new meanings to the fashion system with products that search for stories of origin in order to share thoughts and values.

Furthermore, the concept of time becomes evident in the current developments in fashion. This can also be seen in the value of memories and heritage in today’s commercial presentations. One can perceive that fashion has acquired a more philosphical position, which requires a new level of consciousness in design, as well as, simply in wearing clothing. The 20th century pursued revolutions of independence and individuality in fashion, and especially in femininity. Now that the turmoils of revolt have rather diminished, the connotations of fashion refer to topics of continuity, harmony, humanity and unity. Therefore, the character of the new influence in fashion culture is something more refined, etheral, intangible, and it embraces the memory of the past and is conscious about the present. Barbara Vinken describes fashion to make time, duration, it’s fabric; the stuff fashion is now made of is the time of its own duration, the time it takes for the fabric to wear out, the time in which colours fade, the time in which it aquires the traces of the work invested in it, the traces of the time in which other bodies have worn it.

The Dutch designer, Alexander van Slobbe can be seen as a designer who applies the ethics of intuition and new luxury in his designs.