FOMO got us: Over this summer, Arnhem, a small town near Amsterdam, will be home of State of Fashion 2018, a contemporary fashion exhibition for sustainable fashion installations by well-known brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Honest by Bruno Pieters and Iris van Herpen. The theme of the exhibition is “Searching for the New Luxury”. Over 7 weeks, from June 1st – July 22nd, you can visit this extraordinary exhibition which will be set up at the Melkfabriek Arnhem. Ticket prices start at 10€ for students, and also side event tickets with speakers are available. You can get yours HERE. To learn more about the exhibition, scroll further and read our interview with State of Fashion curator José Teunissen.
José, please tell us what the State of Fashion exhibition is about. How does State of Fashion relates to sustainable fashion? And why did you choose the theme: Searching for the New Luxury?
In short, State of Fashion 2018: Searching for the New Luxury explores a new Fashion world where new values are given shape. The event explores a new sense of conscious consumerism by embracing state-of- the-art technologies, innovative production methods and fresh business models by exploring the exhibition area where science and fashion design meet. Above all, it showcases a range of seductive products and concepts to evoke a better and resilient world we aspire to live in and to feel connected to.
How evolved the idea to create such an inspiring event in Arnhem, The Netherlands? Who are your partners?
In 2005, the local government in Arnhem and the Provence started a two yearly Fashion Biennale, called Mode Biennale, grounded on the reputation of the fashion department of ArtEZ University of the Arts which over the years educated world-famous talents such as Viktor & Rolf, Li Edelkoort and Iris van Herpen among others. This was an internationally recognized and successful event. Also Arnhem became the very first center were Fashion Research started to get shape.
In a period where Eindhoven started to profile itself as a Design city, Arnhem developed a profile as the center of Fashion. In 2012, this was recognized by the Dutch Government who made Arnhem the official center of the Dutch Fashion network innovation plans with myself as figurehead. This was the start of a range of interdisciplinary of research and innovation led by the center of excellence Artie Future Makers. In 2016 the Modebiennale restarted with a new name State of Fashion to underline a new period in fashion where we are re-thinking the system and where innovation can take place.
What can visitors expect at the exhibition and what kind of side events do you set up?
State of Fashion is an event where we expect professionals, academics, students but also a general public: the fashion consumer. We are opening the exhibition with two conferences. On initiated by Textile Exchange primarily for industry and another two days fashion colloquium for academics and students. Both seminars will generate a very international and diverse audience, speakers and so on who will have the opportunity to attend the exhibition. Next to that we have all kind of activities during the exhibition such as the Whataboutery. Friday evening debates are open for public and will inform them but also gives them the opportunity to engage. See all EVENTS.
What is your personal experience with sustainable fashion? What motivates you to fight for change in the fashion industry? And what does sustainable fashion mean to you?
In 1993 I wrote my first book on Sustainability based on a seminar held at Rietveld academy in Amsterdam. Since then, I have closely followed the developments and I must see it is a slow and complicated
process – there is no definitive answer what the sustainable solution is,
but in 20 years we will have made big developments.
What do you see about the fashion industry as the biggest hurdle to making it sustainable?
Fashion system is based on the new! This was in the 19th Century an ideal way to escape existing dress codes and hierarchies in class because everyone could become part of the ‘modern new’ that didn’t have references to class and origin but in the 20th Century with the start of outsourcing and the rise of internet – the fashion cycle has speeded op to sometimes more than 12 collections a year. This is insane and doesn’t feel anymore like fresh new trends for a consumer to engage with. Also the push on renew, renew and renew causes big problems for the consumer market We consume much more than we need, we become fashion, clothing obsessed or we see it as disposal. Maybe the biggest hurdle is the economic system that is fixated on growth. A brand cannot become sustainable without looking into what conscious consuming is and without looking into a business model that is not based on growth. These will be challenging and major, but at the same time essential and disruptive changes that existing brands have to face.
What are your future plans with State of Fashion? And what are your personal plans to continue fighting for the change in the industry?
I don’t have any concrete plans yet. It would be great if the exhibition could travel and I definitely continue to publish and speak on the subject. In general I like to follow and to unravel what currently is at stake in our fashion culture and fashion industry. Sustainability is only one part of a big cultural and economic shift that is for sure.
State of Fashion exhibition “Searching for the New Luxury”
When: 1 June until 22 July 2018
Where: Melkfabriek in Arnhem, Netherlands
Installations: Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Iris van Herpen, Yuima Nakazato, Viktor & Rolf for Zalando, Bruno Pieters, G-Star RAW, Fashion Revolution, Apparatus 22, H&M, Rafael Kouto. See all here.
Buy your ticket: HERE.