Wednesday 2 June 2021

Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem - PURPOSE

Collectie Arnhem
Photo: Wendelien Daan
Styling: Mary-Lou Berkulin / model: Lisette Ros

Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem 2021 re- examines the PURPOSE of the current fashion system 

The new edition of the Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem will officially start soon on the 3rd of June 2021. This year, together with designers, artists and partners, the festival has a hybrid character due to the current global pandemic.

Together with designers, partners and curators Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem will investigate how the desire for a deeper purpose manifests itself in fashion and design. And how the fashion system is reinventing itself, after the reset.

It is about PURPOSE, but certainly also about REPURPOSE and a reset of the fashion system in a contemplative way. The festival zooms in on the way in which fashion and product design responds to the changing focus from material to immaterial happiness and purpose, based on the ten dimensions.

The ten dimensions refer to domains such as consumption, gender equality, ratio, emotion, empathy and are derived from the Tree of Life of Kabbalistic teachings, with the aim of finding a perfect balance in a combination of these dimensions.
The entire program this year is focused on showing different paradigms in the dimensions, allowing visitors to see that contemporary ideas about PURPOSE, sustainability to find a new balance and fundamental mentality shift.

Photo: Wendelien Daan
Styling: Mary-Lou Berkulin
Design: Schepers Bosman
The seventh edition of the festival will take place from 3 June to 3 July 2021 in Arnhem city center, with a COVID-19 proof set-up, a high-quality hybrid festival, where online and offline events alternate and complement each other. Every week a number of dimensions from the overarching theme 'PURPOSE' are highlighted. FDFA offers depth on the theme every week by means of videos and hybrid events. The programming takes place mainly on Thursdays and Fridays in June and is organized in collaboration with partners of the FDFA.

The digital program consists of an opening week with designer talks on the theme PURPOSE within the ten dimensions. Throughout the month, the FDFA presents digital programs, such as video interviews with the talents within the dimensions, how they create videos about the creative process and craft with local Arnhem designers and substantive visual installations. The FDFA lets experts talk about the hacks for a sustainable, upcycled wardrobe, and where clothing comes from.

The FDFA gives a seminar on PURPOSE & RE-PURPOSE and within the themes talks are hosted about sustainable projects such as The Linen Project and Fashion For Good about the future of circular design and new biobased materials. The Linen Project is investigating whether it is possible to start the local production of flax, linen and (linen) products in a sustainable manner in the Netherlands, so that the quality and origin of the products can be brought back to a local level. On the interactive parts, workshops are given in crafts such as screen printing and knitting. During the Fashion Month, the final exam students of ArtEZ University of Arts and Rijn IJssel Creative Industry will show their graduation collections.

View the program:

The theme

The last generations in the Netherlands have grown up in a consumer society in which fast fashion, rapid trend changes and mass consumption are the norm. Due to the internet and social media, beauty ideals are taking on more and more unnatural forms worldwide. Driven by algorithms, the pressure to live up to these ideals is increasing. The performance society dictates an unending quest for perfection, but the downside of the quest is an increase in burnouts. And the use of antidepressants and drugs is on the rise. At the same time, a counter-movement is emerging in which the interest in mindfulness and yoga expresses itself in a search for a deeper form of purpose and meaning. In short, this group wants to rethink today's performance society. And they are trying to change the consumption patterns that underlie it.

The University of Utah concluded that spiritual experiences cause the brain to produce dopamine and provide much the same pleasure as with sex, gambling and the use of stimulants. More than ever, we seem to be looking for meaning and happiness in our lives. Happiness that we apparently don't find in our current, busy performance society. Following this trend, the Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem this year focuses on the theme of meaning with its participating designers, artists, partners and the public on the basis of the ten dimensions.

More information about FDFA:


Fotografie Wendelien Daan ©2020 Styling Mary-Lou Berkulin

Assistant Photo Robin Griffin Studio Umsjatka

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