The Fashion Professorship explores and develops critical theories and practices of making, wearing and embodying fashion. In doing so, the Fashion Professorship aims to contribute to practicing alternative and solidary systems with more agency for human beings in precarious positions and more care for all living beings.
The current times of great uncertainty and increasing polarisation demand an open, explorative and speculative approach towards fashion and its system. Titled ‘Practicing Solidarity’, the ArtEZ Fashion Professorship invited seven critical fashion practitioners and/or fashion collectives to develop concrete concepts that contribute to a future in which solidarity, empathy, connection, agency, well-being and care are central values. Practicing Solidarity is closely linked to the research project Solidarity in Fashion – amplifying its impact and broadening its reach.
We’re proud to briefly introduce the participating practices and their projects:
Andrea Chehade is a designer, artist, researcher and educator from Chile with Palestinian and French roots. Her interdisciplinary practice is based on the observation of sociopolitical phenomena. Through embodied practices, she questions the power structures and the production of knowledge by using fashion as a relational and communication medium.
Historically, clothing and other textiles have been used as emancipatory tools by women and dissidents. For Practicing Solidarity, Andrea will develop Dressing As Resisting:a series of collective workshops exploring the unofficial and hidden histories of women's struggles, sexual dissidences, and underrepresented communities. The workshops will lead to the construction of a website where users from different geographical contexts will engage as actors by uploading their own stories, thus contributing to the creation of a permanent and ongoing collective archive.
Chet Bugter is an activist, artistic and embodied researcher, writer and educator. He utters a cry of resistance against a fashion system that clings onto strict binary gender codes, and which denies the power and importance of the body at its centre. Through (participatory) performance, workshops, written and visual essays, zines and film, he aims to circumvent the ways in which the gender binary is expressed in and through fashion, subsequently restoring the power of the living bodies within.
For Practicing Solidarity, he will develop another installment of A Body Zine, which will focus on regaining agency over the representation of our bodies within the Neo-liberal, industrial fashion system. In a series of workshops, he aims to work with a broad selection of participants from in- and outside of the field of fashion, employing their lived experiences in questioning how their bodies have been influenced by a disembodied fashion system.
Each workshop cycle will result in a ‘body zine’, eventually resulting in zine archive, or a series of objects of embodiment and lived experience. This will be presented in an interactive presentation, during which there audience will be invited to connect with and contribute to the zine archive.
Femke de Vries works as an artist/researcher in fashion where she explores the interaction between clothing as material objects of use and fashion as a process of value production. Through re-readings from various perspectives, she aims to expose workings of fashion / modes of fashioning. Seeking alternative scenarios for makers and users she takes in consideration the role of fashion communication formats, cultural references and material culture questioning hierarchies, mystification, alienation and emphasizing the physical reality of use. Her research led practice is driven by collaboration and results in works that connect theory and practice.
For Practicing Solidarity, Femke explores the relation between human and non-human beings in fashion and aims towards more solidary relations. On the one hand it is a research into the use of animals as material and symbols in fashion and how this exploitation and objectification is entangled with our social relation, or lack of it, with them. On the other hand, the work explores alternative approaches that revolve around acknowledging and enhancing interspecies relations and communication through fashion and garments.
Painted Series is a hybrid fashion collective, led by fashion designer Saskia van Drimmelen and performance director Margreet Sweerts, collaborating with kindred spirits in a varying line-up. Painted Series explores new ways to develop and distribute clothing and likes to blur the lines between fashion and performance, expanding the idea of what a garment can be.
For Practicing Solidarity, Painted Series will explore solidarity through ‘opening' garments. They will invite a group of young people who have a bond (a class, friends, a band ) to cut a piece from a loved garment. Each cut-out will be exchanged and integrated into a piece of clothing owned by a friend. A bandage will be designed to join the separate parts. By sharing and exchanging, something new is created for everyone, that is also connected to the other. Not only is the garment ‘opened’, but also the identity of both individual and group – creating new bonds.
Sanne Karssenberg is a researcher and fashion designer – investigating and designing alternative perspectives and strategies within the fashion discipline. Her work is situated at the intersection of art and design, with a strong focus on materiality and textile. The relation between wearer, maker and material is her main points of interest.
Her project will revolve around the question: How can the encounter with physical decay and death due to Covid-19 be an opening for a more conscious relation with each other and ourselves through fashion?
Fashion’s system is mostly focusing on maintaining a perfect flux by propagandizing the eternal desire for the new. Fashion promises transformation, rather than that it embodies it. By focusing on fashion's and our relation to death, Sanne Karssenberg aims to explore how clothes can be active carriers of memories and transformative moments, embedded in daily life’s wearing and doing fashion.
Zinzi de Brouwer (she/her) is an Advocate, Entrepreneur, Academic, Creative Director and founder of Studio Palha, an equity-centered community design practice based in Mozambique and the Netherlands in which female artisans take the central stage in bridging craft, technology, and design to bring forth alternative fashion narratives. Through fashion, she links academia and industry to foster social and environmental justice in specific regard to Indigenous sovereignty. By curating design residencies between the artisans and fashion practitioners, Studio Palha amplifies indigenous-led sustainable practices the empower the possibility to design human ecosystems, where craft and design weave together collective wisdom.
z o m e r k a m p collective is an assemblage of seven women - connected by a somatic consciousness and shared material, social, spiritual-love of the world: Amor Mundi– which sprung from a need for more commonality in our practices and lives, wondering how to expand from I to We and to practise the I in the We.
‘Giving Time, Making Energy’
Volunteers play an essential role in maintaining events in culture and fashion. For Practicing Solidarity, z o m e r k a m p collective zooms in on volunteering to research the value systems at stake. What does volunteering mean for everyone involved: what transactions take place in these temporary communities? What are current and possible future infrastructures of relations?
Through workshops and interactions z o m e r k a m p aims to explore and render visible the challenges and possibilities of this alternative economy.