Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Fashion collection inspired by Europe

How Europe inspired fashion designers to design conversation piece collection

In the Pop-up Atelier Europa of Studio Europa Maastricht and FASHIONCLASH, ten young European fashion designers worked together to develop a Europe Collection within one week. They did this from a glass house at Mosae Forum from 2 to 8 December. Designers from countries like UK, Finland, Ukraine, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands, Serbia and Russia drew inspiration from the Dress to Protest workshops that were organized earlier this year for young people from the Euregion.

In addition, the designers were paired to performers, the students of the Toneelacademie Maastricht and iArts Maastricht, with the aim to express their concept through a short performance. The result is a collection of ten different approaches and visions about Europe translated into fashion creations.

On Sunday, 8th of December the ten outfits were unveiled with a performance during the Maastricht Europe Days closing show in the Eiffel building in Maastricht.

DESIGNERS
Beatrice Sangster (UK), Benedetta Marcucci (Italy), Julina Bezold (Switzerland), Kateryna Boiko (Ukraine), Michelle Cornelissen (Netherlands), Nevena Ivanović (Serbia), Julia Montin (Finland), Marko Feher (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Maria Ossaba (Belgium), Yana Monk (Russia)
Designers in fornt of the Pop-up Atelier Europa

PERFORMANCE

Directed by Giovanni Brand
Performers: Giovanni Brand, Amber Rozema, Romy Moon, Nina Wilson, Melanie Barelds, Seppe Salomé, Cecilia A. Thoden van Velzen, Bo Oudendijk, Tijn Hoekzema, Tomas Claessens



Dress to Protest
Pop-up Atelier Europe is one of a series of activities organized in 2019 within the context of 'Dress to Protest'. With this project FASHIONCLASH and Studio Europa Maastricht are calling on young people to participate in design workshops to exchange ideas about Europe. With the imagination of fashion, they shape their visions and personal stories about Europe. During the workshops in May and September, a total of 180 students from different schools and nationalities, spoke about the meaning of European peace and cooperation for their personal freedom. The students then translated the outcomes of their brainstorm sessions into creative designs.

More information about the project: www.fashionclash.nl/dress-to-protest 
Dress to Protest workshops
Maastricht Europe Days
Pop-up Atelier Europa is part of the Maastricht Europe Days, a three-day program about the future of Europe, elaborated in 25 events such as debates, theatre performances, workshops, exhibitions and debates. The Maastricht Europe Days are organized by Studio Europa Maastricht organised as part of the Maastricht, Working on Europe program, set up in 2018 by the province, municipality and university. Last year the Maastricht Europe Days experienced their first edition, this year the program has been extended to three days with more than 25 events and activities.

More information about Maastricht Europe Days: www.maastrichteuropedays.nl

All images are by Laura Knipsael 

Europa Collection Lookbook 

Beatrice Sangster (UK)
Beatrice Sangster
The concept for this project was created in response to our current political environment across Europe. The European Migrant crisis. The number of forcibly displaced migrants and refugees has reached the highest level since the second world war. Refugees arriving in Europe and at Europe’s borders, crossing the Mediterranean Sea passage to escape political turmoil, persecution, war, or violence in the hope of a safer future in Europe. The refugees and migrants face serious humanitarian and protection challenges. The hardship of the journey, the increasing tightening of the borders, and the abuses of smugglers. And as arrivals increase, reception capacity and conditions remain seriously inadequate.
Came across in the news, of refugees having fake life jackets when they risk their lives to cross the sea to Europe. Refugees drown when their overcrowded boats fill with water and sink, or capsize. Chance of survival is slim without life jackets made to international standards. Refugees being sold cheaper, badly made, fake life jackets with non-buoyant filling. With no idea that their life jackets are fake, and are without protection.
To highlight this issue, I used the life jacket as an essential piece of safety equipment for these people’s journey, a symbol for protection, specifically working with one made from non-buoyant filling. And the symbol of the European Flag as a critical debate, EU states have a responsibility to offer refugees protection, but the increased immigration to Europe from other continents has encountered resistance in many European countries.
Benedetta Marcucci (Italy)
Benedetta Marcucci 
Nowadays too many things in the world and in Europe, are going in the wrong way, that is why with the outfit I made for the “Dress to Protest” project I would like to send a message of positivity and awareness. I have the feeling that as Europeans we carry a lot with us, first among everything the complexity of our history, which we should never forget but be more conscious of it, in order to not repeat the same mistakes and to enhance all the positive things that come from it.
The draped dress represents Europe, from the Greek Mythology, and the cape made of different textile manipulations represents what Europe carries with it: from history, to art, to different cultures and religions. I have chosen to use different shades of white colour to represent the idea of negativity refuse, in order to purify and enhance ourselves as Europeans and the whole Europe as only one country.
I want to make people think about all those aspects, that we should enhance all the amazing and unique things we have, not take them for granted, that we should embrace every culture, instead of pretending to be united but being scared of what is different from what we are used to.
Julia Montin (Finland)
Julia Montin
What if your purchase past was visible? In the fast-moving world of fashion and momentariness of social media, the need to purchase more and more new things shown to us is overwhelming. Overconsumption of disposable garments is easy because of their presence on every shopping street across the world. Cheapness makes many justify impulse buying things they might only wear once. But garments don’t disappear after worn once for on instagram picture and being thrown away because they’re not considered valuable - they become waste.
Julina Bezold (Switzerland)

Julina Bezold
Europe Comfort Zone?
a research-hued, unfinished stream of thoughts by wholina

In Europe, fortunately, most of our physical and safety needs are met. In times when so much seems to go wrong, we sometimes forget how valuable it is to have food and clothing in abundance, to have a roof over our heads and to live in the world's most successful peace project. The psychologist Abraham Maslow has created a pyramid model of human needs which states that only when the basic needs (physiological, safety) are met we as humans can deal with other stages like love & belonging, esteem and self-actualization.
During research we have also encountered an experiment of existential psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom, who undertook the same experiment multiple times: Three to four hundred people, men and women - by no means desperate or in need of help, but throughout successful, life-affirming and well-dressed people with appropriate charisma are asked to pair up and ask each other a simple question: “What do you want?”

- They are equally stirred up in their innermost being. They call for people who are lost forever - deceased or disappeared parents, spouses, children and friends: “I want to see you again” - “I want your love” - “I want you to be proud of me” - “I want you to know how much I love you and how sorry I am that I never told you that” - “I want you to come back - I’m so lonely. “ - “I want to finally experience the childhood I never had.” - “I want to be healthy again.” - “ I want to be loved and respected.” - “I want to give meaning to my life.” - “I want to achieve something, have influence, play an important role, I want to be remembered.” So many desires. And so many pains that break out within a few minutes. Pain of fate. Pain of life. An ubiquitous pain that constantly slumbers under the membrane of life. A pain that is all too easily stirred up.
( Irvin D. Yalom; “Love’s executioner and other Tales of Psychotherapy)

So, if within a very short time, these desires burst out, couldn't we assume that we all share them? The desire for love, respect, meaningful achievements and to remain remembered. While we might share these desires with our loved ones, we often forget that our distant, superficial, daily environment shares exactly the same worries, fears and desires as we do. The cashier, the new employee, the people on the street… Regardless of nationality, gender, language group, culture, profession or sexuality, we believe that this is where individuality becomes uniformity. In our notion, this is where people could be more understanding and sympathetic with each other. In fact, more open and kinder. As an ironic comment we translated these wishes to Esperanto. A language that was planned to connect people in Europe, but in fact is not understood by the majority. To us a symbol of the separation that exists between mankind. For the performance, we silkscreen printed these phrases on the dress, surrounded by the literal comfort zone we’re in, our projection surface that we show to the outside, revealing the underlying human desires. Followed by the act of true revelation - being naked. An appeal to our equality, not our differences, a food for thought for more understanding and attention to our social environment. We also looked at the ambivalence of humour and seriousness. Something that looks funny or comical from the outside becomes something human through the removal of layers.
Kateryna Boiko (Ukraine)
Kateryna Bioko
During Soviet times Ukraine and many other Soviet countries faced oppression of national languages and were forced to speak Russian. After years new generations were born for who Russian language is more native than Ukrainian. At the same time English is praised and encouraged to learn as it is a connection point with Europe. Desire to preserve Ukrainian language within all the influences became a point of political manipulation of the government and neighbouring countries, separating Ukrainian citizens. My garment represents the unity of chaos, stating that language should never separate humanity as it happened in the Tower of Babel myth.
Maria Ossaba (Belgium)
María Ossaba I am inspired by diversity in differences. That is why the topic I will discuss will be xenophobia. It seems to me that this problem is sometimes so subtle that it is difficult to detect and / or denounce it. I want to represent this struggle from a “positive” protest, so I will omit the NO in my messages. I want to give elements in my protest of what is needed, not of what we cannot do. The world needs more love and tolerance, we need to lend our hands and give shelter; our warmth, the majority can with the minority!
"Let's give thanks for the diversity, let's start seeing it clearly, so many fall, so few get up, take my hand." I am an immigrant and only we know how difficult it is to adapt, and undergo the loneliness and discrimination, who think that our intelligence is measured by our racial origin. Many doors were closed, by language, by colour, by tone of voice, there was never a direct comment, only indirect, so it becomes more difficult to recognize the problem itself. Love is our race, our language, our religion ....
Marko Feher (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Marko Feher 
This project was one big challenge for me. Through the project I wanted to show how people who living in Bosnia and Herzegovina is actually felt in Europe and even in the European Union. I used social networks, Instagram, and checked with people who follow me, how they feel and how they think Europe is treating them. Most of us think that we are always unfairly isolated and viewed as less important and less valuable, many consider Europe, to be our evil stepmother and that there is place for all but not for us.
So, I decided to make the coat (which represent army looking person, strong and powerful) and yet full of heart’s and love for some selected and valuable ones. All 43 European countries except Bosnia and Herzegovina are on the coat, that means 43 hearts on a coat and only one Bosnian and Herzegovian separated, that is how we feel. I hope that our people will not be seen through the bad political situation that runs our country and politicians lead in it, I hope that Europe will give an opportunity for us young people to be a part of the world, to feel that way, to have the freedom to travel, learn, work, and not that our every visit to another country is a huge stress, explaining to border control that we are not there to make incidents or stay illegal and disrupt the economy.
Michelle Cornelissen (Netherlands)

Michelle Cornelissen
Vissi d’Arte tells the story of many young immigrants who try to cross the borders of Europe and find out that what seemed to be a warm and welcoming continent, is in fact not taking people in without receiving something in return. In our case, a young opera singer, who lives for art, yet can only enter the EU if she sings for them. In other words, she would have to sell her voice if she wants to work and live in Europe.
‘My talent is no password,
My voice can’t be my passport.’
Nevena Ivanović (Serbia)
Nevena Ivanovic 
In the past few years, I was researching the subject of origin and identity through my work. I think that we all have to be aware that there is no such thing as a clear identity. We all are a mixture of a few different nationalities or at least we feel so. That is something that made me think about affiliation. Is affiliation determined by how we feel about being part of some community or it has to be more than just a personal identification and it has to follow some rigid rules? My piece is a mixture of different influences from a few different cultures that I feel as I belong to. Also, this outfit is a part of my personal experiment which is based on a following inspiration that is driven from different cultures and making a possible DNA world map of my origin. The results of my work will be compared to a real DNA test when I feel I have come to the end of my research.
Yana Monk (Russia)
Yana Monk
Rather subtly poetic than explicitly politic the outfit for DTP project stands for tolerance. Communicating through analogy with Hvaldimir (beluga whale detected in the waters of Norway back in April 2019 acclaimed to be Russian spy) Yana speculates on human trait to make assumptions about others or situations which are never quite accurate. "I prefer to embark on a discussion, not a protest... " - she says. In a grotesque manner Yana works her way through mixed visual references appealing to recurring stereotypes found in most forms of media nowadays. Who do you see? An Islamic extremist, Mississippi fisherman, Japanese construction worker? Incorporating the elements of those, the outfit reminds more of an emperor China's Xia dynasty dress. Eventually the seafarer jacket borrowed from the local fishing store in Maastricht has turned into an 'exploded' open coat which loose panels humbly followed Bo Oudendijk floating dance. The performer has held an improvised grenade bag cherished near to his heart. To top it all, assembled from batteries, fuses and lighting components the neck piece touches on humanity's ever increasing demand for energy and its potential disruptive power.

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