Monday 6 December 2021

Open Mic Night - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2021

Romy Moons, Petit Pierrot
In the weekend of 26 to 28 November, the city of Maastricht was dominated by the 13th edition of FASHIONCLASH Festival. As planned, it was a hybrid edition with an online and offline program in Maastricht. Not only was the program of a hybrid design, the work presented shows the polyphony of a current generation of designers and artists who move with their own practice in the hybrid domain of presentation forms, social engagement and who use fashion to empower. 

The engagement and hybrid mentality of the current generation of designers and artists could be felt at the Open Mic Night, a new festival program in which the participants literally took the free stage. This unique comedy club-inspired event aligns with the hybrid festival format. During the Open Mic Night, ten different designers and (performing) artists presented their work in the form of a fashion presentation or performance. Open Mic Night was directed by Giovanni Brand and presented by the multidisciplinary performer and artist ARIAH LESTER.

Participants were Maximilian Rittler, Davidpaulusstudio, Elliot Collective, Rachel Klok, Jolieke Kessels, МАША, Maja Simišić, Leap Concept, DE ZAAK, Who cares what you wear? (theatre project by FASHIONCLASH, Mayke Roels and Nina Willems) and intermezzo performance Petit Pierrot by Romy Moons.

All images by Laura Knipsael.


Maximilian Rittler

Maximilian Rittler is a Viennese born menswear protagonist, bon vivant, draughtsman and, designer. He works with semiotic codes of the fine arts great history by being made of fantasy. Shakespeare’s words become epitomized in his working process: “All made of passion and all made of wishes. All adoration, duty, and observance. All humbleness. All patience and impatience. All purity, all trial, all observance.” - (William Shakespeare, As you like it.) ‘BALLROOM BLITZ’ is about Maximilian his favorite music tracks and artists: Queen, Mozart, The Sweet, King Gizzard, Michael Nyman and AC/DC. It´s devoted to glam rock, energy, joy and performance; the evolving from a classical runway into a rock´n´roll concert.



David Paulus was born and raised in Curaçao and is a self-educated and self-supporting upcoming designer currently based in The Netherlands. David differs from most young designers in his vision; he creates “Art Couture” and is in that way non-conforming to the regular world of fashion. “My creations are inspired by and based on my love for art.”


Elliot Collective

Elliot is a brand and collective founded by Joline Kwakkenbos and Britt Liberg. It is an ongoing research on movement, space, color and contrast and a collaboration between fashion, art and performance. They create garments for everyday wear - unpolished, but with care. All garments are unique and made in the moment, because Elliot rather creates than produces. “We like to keep it playful and want to build up a world in which all ‘Elliots’ can live”. Elliot is for the wearer, not for time. Elliot is innovation within nostalgia, where craft and intuition are most important.” ‘A verbal dance’ is a revelation of Elliot's vision, played by its creators Britt and Joline. They will engage in a physical interaction that goes hand in hand with the telling of their vision of contemporary fashion - garments will be worn and played with. The garments are made by Elliot and are changeable to visualize the message. ‘’So, what do we do when we ought to have fun, when we ought to be free and be whoever we want to be but still value the garment in a way that it becomes essential for communicating again? WHAT do we DO?”


Rachel Klok

Rachel Klok recently graduated from ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem with her collection 'The End’, in which she applied old couture techniques on contemporary silhouettes, and vice versa. Rachel is sick of couture constantly repeating itself and is therefore always looking for a reinterpretation of the classical garment. Not only to justify its existence in today’s fashion but also to convey a different message. To accomplish this vision, she makes use of discarded clothing and deadstock materials - to both strengthen her story and to reduce waste.


Jolieke Kessels 

Jolieke Kessels is an independent designer who explores the possibilities of traditional handicrafts and their use in contemporary fashion. She combines unconventional materials and craftsmanship in refined garments, with knitting and crochet being two often reoccurring techniques. Jolieke finds inspiration in the slowness of traditional techniques and garments. Her collections are often dreamy, feminine and delicate; every piece is a one-of-a-kind gem. “Traditions as well as traditional crafts are ever evolving. We have found ways to produce garments extremely fast and efficient. In this process we lost on durability and on connection with the clothing that we wear. In my opinion there is no gain in recreating history though, the way we live has changed too much. But looking back can help us improve the future.” ‘Renaissance’ is a collection celebrating traditional dressmaking and dress wearing, rebirthing it into contemporary fashion.



Maria Vogt her practice is all about the exploration of creatures through fashion collections, dance and performance. “The creature is by definition an identity which is usually not expressed. It can be seen as a shadow of one’s “official identity”. Maria found tools for herself to deal intuitively with trauma and to transform damaging experiences into empowering self-expression. “Within sharing my own experience of freeing myself from domestic violence, I want to inspire young women with a similar background in developing their own self-empowerment tools (…). It is my goal to build a network of mutual trust and support.”


Maja Simišić

Maja Simišić is a Serbian multi-disciplinary artist who recently graduated from the Willem the Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. For her graduation project, she spoke to various people from the former Yugoslavia diaspora in The Netherlands about their interpretation of the home, as they have often experienced separation from home, anxiety and assimilation in new spaces. “As humans, we tend to have strong emotional connections with certain objects in our house that make us feel at home. For an example, someone’s spot at the dining table, a favorite pillow to sleep on or a preferred side of the bed.” Based on the interviewee’s stories, she created various performances in a public space that translate a transformative and personal experience of a situation into a domestic space. Instead of merely using the interviewee’s stories as they are, she intertwined her own perception of their behavior, lifestyle and surroundings.



Leap Concept

Leap Concept is a sophisticated knitwear brand by Juana Polo and Todor Stojanov that stands for sustainability and innovation, but above all, an empowerment to take your own “leap of faith”. Each collection is defined by a minimalist assortment, building blocks imbued with an artfully elegant point of difference and a texturally rich approach. Layering effortless, understated pieces, uncompromising in their quality, they create conceptual, slow fashion that cannot be trend listed. “We have garnered a loyal emphasis on elevated lifestyle essentials with the intention to build a wardrobe instead of renewing it.”



Nanine and Lore; two graduating directors from Toneelacademie Maastricht (Institute of Performative Arts) who are building a sustainable and long-lasting relationship by setting up their business DE ZAAK; a theatre company in which they are meeting each other and from where they will collaborate with other young creative minds. Their highest goal? Creating connection. A connection between the two of them, between their audience and them, and between their audience itself. Connective entrepreneurship, that's what they want. ‘A SELECTION OF THE CONNECTION COLLECTION’ is a short solo performance on uniformity and how it (dis)connects us. “A reflection on how we create an identity through what we wear. The way we show ourselves. The way we want to be seen. And the prejudices that exist, based on appearances.”


Who cares what you wear?

‘Who cares what you wear?’ is an interactive educational theater performance for young people with the aim of drawing attention to issues in the field of fashion and sustainability. Young people (aged 9 – 17) are increasingly concerned with their own identity, clothes are part of that. However, the relationship between clothing and climate change is hardly made. They often receive a clothing allowance for the first time, so they can make their own choices about what and how they consume. This turning point makes them an interesting participant in the dialogue about the clothing industry. It's an opportunity where their minds are open to the subject of clothing, consumerism, and choice.

‘Who cares what you wear?’ is a FASHIONCLASH production, in collaboration with theater makers Mayke Roels & Nina Willems and with actresses Ilse Geilen en Aline Cornelissen. This pilot project is currently in research phase and the try-out will be performed at various schools.

@mayke.roels @panda.collectief

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