Something exciting happens the moment fashion leaves its usual system of retail system, in which a designer’s vision is produced in far-away factories and sold in mass in stores around the world. The garment has a different life and status than a work of art – at least in the past two hundred years of industrial capitalism, which very much was born through fashion consumption. But when these economic parameters are lifted from the practice of dress, it unfolds as something much more abstract, ethereal, and complex. This is clear with Women’s History Museum, the New York-bsed fashion duo who since their founding in the mid 2010s have consciously steered away from fashion’s intolerable production system. For WHM, clothing constitutes instead a realm of experience, where questions of identity, feminitity, collectivity, and adornment come together in fantastical and mysterious ways. Their work, which until now has spanned sculpture, performance, workshops, and lots of couture-level garments, invites viewers and wearers to dream and to consider fashion as a social and aesthetic experience in its own right. A recent exhibition at NY gallery Gavin Brown gathers the diverse projects of the duo for the first time, and will function as a functional pop-up store throughout the duration of the exhibition with garments available for purchase. Entitled Otma’s Body, it refers to the self-given acronym of the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Nikolieva, the last princesses of the Russian Empire that were executed in 1918 at the onset of the revolution. Expect a vestiary universe as eclectic and dreamy as Russian Monarchy – and bring cash.
When we think of Diesel, we think denim, leathers, and a quintessential rebelliousness that has shaped the Italian fashion brand into an iconic, modern classic. Dubbed ‘Diesel’ by founder Renzo Rosso as an ode to ‘diesel’ being the alternative fuel during the oil crisis of the late 1970s, it is a brand that has continued to stay true to its rich history while still giving way to constant interpretation. Enter Diesel Black Gold; incepted in 2008 as the luxury fashion extension of it’s namesake mother brand, the label has become synonymous with an elevated, edgy elegance that speaks for a new generation of Diesel wearers. Fast forward to the first month of 2018 and Norwegian-born Andreas Molbestead presents his tribe of libertarian leather-clad warriors to the world, strutting battle-ready, one after another down a concrete runway.
For AW 18, Molstead places Chinese and Vietnamese multicolor Hmong skirts alongside classic denim silhouettes, embellished with traditional Navajo patterns. Military garments are given an Eskimo twist, complemented by modern interpretations of Mexican and Peruvian Baja sweaters. Moldestead’s new global tribe has one mission in mind; to join together in harmony against the dividing uncertainty of our times. Dansk met up with the self-proclaimed “man of few words” after the show during Milan Fashion Week Men’s to discuss what it means to be part of a tribe today, the new definition of gender fluid dressing, and where he sees the future of fashion in the Instagram era.
When one thinks about Yves Saint Laurent‘s muses, numerous incredible women come to mind: his original in-house model Victoire Doutreleau, the fantastic Catherine Deneuve, the voluptuous Laetitia Casta, the flaming Amalia Vairelli, and of course Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. But one must not forget about Dakar born Guinean model Katoucha Niane, otherwise known as the Peule Princess.
Fashion needs young creativity and no one understands that better than 1 Granary. Last year, the London-based magazine launched a new project to support independent labels. Titled VOID, the initiative aims to help young designers, not simply by promoting them, but also by connecting them to established industry insiders. By bringing together those who know the industry with those eager to change it, VOID aims to start a conversation on the future of the fashion system. Last year, they united six designers with prominent photographers and stylists, creating a series of stunning imagery. This year, the exhibition is moving to New York at Red Hook Labs, with an additional fifty designs from four fashion schools – Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art in London, The Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp and Parsons School of Design New York
Before crossing the Atlantic however, the project made a pitstop in Copenhagen, to present at fashion fair CIFF. This time, they were joined by five young designers, who will each get the chance to meet potential buyers and other industry insiders. A perfect opportunity to talk to them about their work, their inspirations and their vision on the future of fashion.
If you’re particularly nerdy about streetwear, its histories, and politics, you’re probably familiar with Barbara Kruger. The American conceptual artist came of age with the so-called Pictures Generation of artists, who in a postmodernist fashion appropriated the visual codes of advertising, fashion, and entertainment to deliver a poignant critique of the growing consumer society of the 1970s and 80s. Her 1990s work “I Shop, therefore I Am,” first installed in a London department store, became the ultimate slogan of how we today perceive identity through what we wear. Famously, her instantly recognizable white sans-serif font on a bright red background became so wide-known that it was appropriated by streetwear brand Supreme in 1994. A subversive strategy for the then small skater brand catering for inner-city youths of color – but today, almost 25 years later, the now-corporately owned brand signifies conspicuous global consumption more than street credibility. By creating a false illusion of stock shortage, the brand has created an almost cult-like following, with teenagers lining up alongside fashionistas for their weekly launches around the world. Their sought-after goods sell for thousands of dollars online, with kids getting lured into their heavy brand signification of coolness from the youngest of ages.
“There are so many ways to do art,” reflects Barbara Kruger in a recent shortfilm by Art21; “some more available to the general public than others.” Her most recent work, a site-specific installation at Coleman Skatepark in Manhattan’s Lower East Side commissioned by PERFORMA, seems to take aim exactly at the streetwear brand that took its cues from her work. With slogans like MONEY TALKS, WHOSE VALUES? tapered all over the skate park, it considers the politics of millennial consumption, which collides the political, the cool, and the democratic more so than ever, right in the heart of its supposed origin. “These are just ideas in the air and questions that we ask sometimes—and questions that we don’t ask but should ask,” she comments in her familiar New Jersey accent.
For for information, see Performa
A “Made in Britain” label in the neck of your woollen sweater, or as a mark on the sole of your shoe, has always stated a guarantee for state-of-the-art quality. Originated in a country with hilly terrains and sudden showers, British manufacturers are known for producing clothes and outerwear incomparable to anything else both in terms of comfort and style. But in recent years, with a fashion industry dominated by high street brands and fast fashion pieces with very low price tags, local fabrics and craft skill heritage haven’t received the amount of attention they rightfully deserve.
DANSK invited Luigi Vitali, editor-in-chief and publisher of DUST Magazine, to talk about a creative industry that has a variety of challenges as well as opportunities to manage, navigating a globalizing world, social media and a digitally enabled youth culture. Vitali’s experience in interviewing quite significant voices for DUST reveals an inquiry that goes beyond an industry that is often too characterized by its consumer culture. Among high calibers historians, economists, theologians, yogis, rabbis and sufi masters he has interviewed figures such Adam Curtis, Yves Citton, Mark Fisher, Gilles Kepel to mention a few. Born in Bologna, he pursued a career as a photographer, going on to found DUST with Luca Guarini to set out to examine challenges of a postmodern, rapidly changing world. How much value do we attach to imagery, environmental issues and societal changes and what does that mean in relation to the fashion industry? Youth culture and economic crisis, stereotypes and bias are further themes the magazine is approaching investigating a variety of aspects, ranging from meditation to environmental activism, and pursue and inspiring collaborations with renowned photographers like Willy Vanderperre, Brett Lloyd, Casper Sejersen and many others . With choosing Berlin as their headquarter, Vitali and Guarini challenge given structures defined by an institutionalized industry and make space for cross cultural encounter of an ever progressing youth.
Recontextualization is a practice that has to be mastered with research and care. Implementing the idea of a piece that attains to be both an art installation and a wearable garment, has been the challenge of the fashion designer Nam Nguyen and photographer Joseph Kadow in their current collaboration. The heritage of jewelry design functioned as a basis to the collaboration between Nguyen and Kadow, which DANSK is proud to premiere here.