While most of our life has drifted rapidly to the digital sphere, fashion remains a very physical experience… Until now! Berlin creatives Sia Arnika and Kristina Nagel have joined forces to produce a speculative fashion collection, existing entirely on the internet. Entitled DIAGNOSTICS, the projects seeks to examine the implications of the screen-based fashion experience – a collection created for virtual consumption only, following the radically alternate rules of value and distribution of the digital sphere. We sat down with the duo to learn more.
What brought you – Kristina and Sia – together, and what are your backgrounds?
Sia: Mutual admiration. Since I’ve known Kristina, I have been fascinated with her approach to the digital content she creates and surrounds herself with, so a collaboration between the two of us seemed like the natural path to take.
Kristina is a Visual Artist focused on photography whilst running AESTHETIK 01
; an independent non-commercial art space in Berlin. She also works as Visual Consultant and Creative Director. I’m a fashion designer brought up on the Danish island of Mors; with rough beaches and where the local discotheque was called “Buddy Holly”. I moved to Copenhagen and then ended up in Berlin, studying fashion design at Esmod and later went on to work for independent fashion designers Ottolinger and Dumitrascu.
What sparked the idea for this project, and why did you find fashion to be an ideal context for this inquiry?
I am very driven by the idea of artificiality and modification in general, so the collection unfolded as a study of shape and materials, based on movements and obscuring of the body. As the collection was never meant to be consumed physically, the concept of the video became quite clear for Kristina; the film is a study of movement/no movement, a natural transgression for the presentation of the garments. Kristina’s work also revolves around the topic of perception, so we found it interesting to examine that idea within our project.
Making fashion for digital consumption is quite radical – can you elaborate on this decision?
There is a perverse fascination with the overindulgence of content online and I find it interesting to experiment with this notion of consumption. Fashion can be many things, but one thing that it has always been is tangible. So I wanted to challenge this perception; how would it be perceived if the end product of the collection was the film and images rater than the clothes themselves.
How do you, then, envision the life of the collection – measured through its circulation online?
Collections nowadays pretty much also go through a lifecycle of existing “only” online, for most people at least, before hitting the sales floor and being replaced soon after. Mine will live (and die) digitally. For how long? until people stop sharing, stop caring, nowadays that can extend over the lifetime of a fly, but the project and the collection will be consumable forever. Or at least until shit hits the fan.
Is your collection a critique of life online – or a call to encourage more cultural practices to move to the Internet?
The world wide web is good and bad, but it depends on how you approach it. For us we wanted to use it as the perfect vessel for giving light to an alternative way of approaching fashion. As a platform it reaches the biggest audience, and I think it is worth wile expanding the perception of how it can be used as a medium to deliver said cultural practises. But it all comes down to the product and what you are trying to convey with it.
Styling by Toby Grimditch