Saturday 25 November 2023

The Clash House - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2023


One of the main programs during FASHIONCLASH Festival is The CLASH House, the performance program of the festival. It is a development process that kicks off around May with the selection of participants who are then substantively guided by performing artists in developing a performance. Designers who are invited are selected for their potential to translate the story behind their project or collection into a performance. Not the collection, but the performance is the new work. Performance as a product, or perhaps a new business model for the fashion designer? Today's designers do not want to bring more products into the world, but value-driven stories about the role and possible meaning of fashion in society.
In 2020, FASHIONCLASH started The CLASH House as a program that replaced its spectacular traditional catwalk program. Not because the catwalk is too big, but to further experiment with presentation forms and especially to further investigate the potential of fashion performance in collaboration with the performing arts.
In the meantime, the 3rd generation of The Clash House participants have released their results with a performance during the festival. One of them, Esra Copur, will further develop the project during Winternights festival and in March during the first FASHIONCLASH Tilburg event. Esra Copur took up the invitation and challenge of turning her performance to-be-to-exist into a participatory project in collaboration with five people of different ages and experience. During a number of workshops in Tilburg they worked together on the performance and the outfits for the performance. ‘to-be-to-exist’ is about playing with the concept to take up more space as a person, balancing extrovert and introvert personality traits. This project invited people to join the creative process. Together with them and their stories, this performance was made.

Esra Copur

The others, such as, Ruben Jurriën investigates how his own passion for theater and fashion can be brought together. For his presentation, Ruben sang a newly written song live himself. With a kind of mini musical about love and tolerance, his performance warmed the hearts of the audience, at least mine. How wonderful it is, that a young designer uses a simple story about kindness and love as an activist statement in these dystopian and polarizing times.
‘Super Femboyant’ challenges our associations with the word “strong”. The collection and the performance are inspired by an incident where a kiss between Ruben Jurriën and his lover, triggered an outburst from a classic bodybuilder. In that moment, Ruben froze and felt frightened. He later realised that it was his tenderness, softness, and love that actually scared the “strong” man. So, what is strong really? This performance plays with this thought. 

Ruben Jurriën

The opening performance of the eventing 'CKETJA, la jacket qui te va !' was provided by MAASH, the Brussels duo Miguel Gonçalves-Alver & Ash Lizzies. The duo decided to concretize and merge their mutual fascinations - contemporary art, design, sculpture, and the performing arts.
They aim to create "statement-outfits", with their creations marking the space, moving, and carrying as a statement of being. Local and artisanal, their unique pieces are embodied in natural and urban spaces that can evoke clothing, sculpture, or real architecture CKETJA, la jacket qui te va ! was staged ans an installation where various jackets are hanging, resembling a showroom in a store. One performer, Coppi Antoine, does a convincing solo performance where runway-like walk merges with contemporary dance. We see how the performer, the human body, interacts with the jackets, as it were duets between jackets that are first part of the sculpture and then briefly dance with the performer, only to return to being just a piece of clothing again. It shows the difference between clothing as an object and when the garment in relation to the body becomes fashion or more than that.
'Jackets and sculptures share a common element in their design and creation process. Both require a keen eye for form and structure. Just as sculptors carefully consider the placement of each line and curve to create a dynamic composition, designers consider the placement of seams and the cut of the fabric to create a flattering and functional piece of clothing. Both forms of creation are a combination of function and aesthetics, where each element serves a purpose while contributing to the overall visual impact. Sculptors may mold, carve, or cast their materials, while jacket designers may stitch, drape, or manipulate the fabric to create their designs.'- MAASH


Polish designer Barbara Rozenberg shows empathy as a form of activism with her project. If I am not allowed to feel, then I will make a project about how I feel, as Barbara explained the core of her projects. Beautiful garments were shown by dancing models. Barbara Rozenberg focuses on the daily struggle of finding physical and mental comfort. Clothing is a necessary part of accessing the feeling of ease and she always dresses herself with her emotions in mind. She aims to expand this idea into a tale about the acknowledgment and acceptance of the feelings we tend to repress. Balancing on the border between art and fashion she creates wearable art with which she gives shapes to abstract concepts such as feelings and emotions. Barbara always designs with physical and mental comfort in mind, trying to create tools that help people to express themselves. 

Barbara Rozenberg

Central Saint Martins MA graduate talent from Slovenia, Jean-Matjaz Flogie presented 'Fake Oscars' as a subversive two-part performance. Red carpet mockery and staged speeches unveiled the hollowness of fame's pursuit. Inspired by Jean-Paul Goude, surreal challenges replace competition, highlighting the joy in creativity. "The finale strips away pretense, revealing vulnerability and authenticity. Celebrating artistic freedom, we juxtapose ostentation with genuine expression, leaving audiences questioning fame's value while embracing the liberation of true creativity."

Jean-Matjaz Flogie is a fashion and print designer with the urge of living out fantasies fearlessly, dazzlingly, and desperately. Childhood memories blend with urban dreams, resulting in designs that hold both drama and tenderness. By intertwining the natural beauty of the countryside with the dynamics of the big city life, he strives to bring forth a fresh perspective that celebrates the convergence of contrasts and reveals the untamed beauty within us all.
Although the stunning-looking collection initially radiates luxury and glamor, it is a layered project with a sincere message about vulnerability and honesty, as expressed in designers own words 'Honesty is the new luxury'.

Jean Flogie

Last but certainly not least was the performance of maatrev, a duo consisting of Martha Hupfauer and Jonas Konrad, who both studied MA fashion design at Institut Français de la Mode in Paris and have just presented their degree collection at Paris Fashion Week 2023. With their projects they focus on questioning the sociatal topics such as identity, look for references and search for new positionings with and in fashion and art, in order to develop an attitude expressed in shape and textile.
"If a fake is so perfect that you can’t distinguish it from its original, is it or is it not as good as the original?" Their performance ‘pur ist saft fast sirup’ - a German palindrome that translates to ‘pure juice is almost syrup’ - investigates this dilemma: the use of snap bands and their coincidental character of transforming, reflects on the existence of originality, while the accessories deceive the viewer, mimicking the characteristics of the fake. The staged performance aims at directly opposing the notions of originality and fake, inviting the audience to find their own answer to the question above. 


The program was moderated by multidisciplinary artist and performer Ariah Lester. After each performance there was a short on-stage interview with the makers, which brought the show's attention back to the content and story behind the work. Ariah Lester wore an outfit by the promising designer Denzel Veerkamp.
Participants of The CLASH House receive a coaching program in which they are supported by performing arts professionals. For this edition the coaches were theater maker and performer Giovanni Brand and dancer and choreographer Laisvie Andrea Ochoa Gaevska. The aim of the The Clash House program is to encourage designers to experiment with presentation formats and thus contribute to the innovation of the field and create a unique experience for the audience. 

Ariah Lester in Denzel Veerkamp outfit

The Clash House is an initiative of FASHIONCLASH Foundation and is presented during FASHIONCLASH Festival. The next edition is planned for 15 - 17 November 2024.

FASHIONCLASH is a development and presentation platform for fashion (culture) that, through crossovers, contributes to, on the one hand, the individual talent development of the new generation of fashion makers and, on the other hand, to general awareness of the role of fashion in the world.

Photography by Laura Knipsael.

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