NM: It is always so beautiful to see when creatives form a group and grow together. Nimie, Johanna, Anna and Sannica, how did you convert this design philosophy into your style of fashion communication? What was your process like?
Anna: Our process was responding to the design whilst growing along nature with a value for the humane. We wanted to see how we could represent this circular structure in our work. With our work, we wanted to have no end destination, because Utopia as well, has no end destination. In the studio, we created our utopic world, where we represented aspects of garment design. Most of the models weren’t wearing anything, but the accessories of the designers. We wanted to see this in relation to stripping it down. We wanted to ask, what are your clothes? What do you wear every day? Is everyone always fully clothed? It was based on the idea that everyone’s basic is the same basic. We were trying to challenge that. We tried to involve nature in the movement of the garments. It was based on the idea of this outside utopian space, where you keep going around in circles. When you look at the images, it is a circular journey.
Johanna: I think you expressed it quite well. The most important aspect of this visualisation was the journey. It was about having this divide between the outside and the inside. The outside part is very much searching for the answer to the utopia question. Utopia can be tangible in a way, distressed or searching. It can have a stressful energy in the pictures. We filled the studio space with sand on the floor and a tree growing out of it. Another thing we did in the studio in relation to time was to re-create the different seasons. One image is full of snow, one is quite rainy, one is at night and the other one is at dawn.
Anna: Time is such an important aspect of everything. We questioned how consumers spend their time. The nature of fast fashion is to do things as quickly as possible, whereas, in the community, we wanted to slow it down a little. We wanted to see what one could do with a day, instead of pushing it to the absolute maximum. Can you value things? How do you value things? Also, Milana’s character is a bit displaced – in our utopia we put them into a lot of scenes, for example, we had random cutlery. We had some of the figures in trees. We had these jars that were supposed to be pickled things, which also represent preservation. We tried to incorporate one massive family community and wanted to make this circular holy experience for all of us.
Nimie: It is a cyclical journey. The whole point of it is that there is no end to this conversation about sustainability. There is no end goal– there is always a progression.
Anna: There are more ideas for the now, rather than a statement about an end solution – it’s always moving.
NM: Currently, the fashion system praises hustle culture in an era of hyper-capitalism. Do you personally see a growing demand for clothes that last, and people form an emotional connection with rather than quick disposable ones?
Johanna: 100%. People need a longing for something that lasts. There is so much seasonal change, especially in fast fashion stores. It doesn’t have any durability. There is also a need for clothes that won’t break after using them once. I think that is very important. I think people are longing for something that lasts longer than six months. There is also a sense of timelessness that is extremely important.
Nimie: We also try to convey the timelessness in our project, that is the point of it.
Mini Milana: I also think when items have more sentimental value to the individual, it means something to you, and you are way less inclined to throw them away. If clothing has more personal meaning and attachment, it’s less likely to be just disposed of.
Linus: That goes hand in hand. When you feel how personal a garment is, how much consideration and love went into it, you treat it with a lot more respect. When you can’t trace where the garment is coming from, how are you able to have respect for the garment? When you treat it with respect, you treat it like your child almost.
“The issue with this entire debate of sustainability, is that it is projected to be equal. That allows for so much elitism because it is so expensive. There is this glorification of everybody thinking that their designs should last forever. But maybe, they should just be made from compostable materials.”
Alona: I think it’s our responsibility when we are making our clothes. It might not necessarily be the approach that everyone has when it comes to clothing now. We have this extensive knowledge of clothes and how we want to treat them – I think, genuinely, it’s something people are going to look into. It is a habit that we need to have. We need to inject into people’s ways of buying and consuming.
Dieter: Beyond this, consumer behaviours are really important in the fight for sustainability. I do think that the choice of materials is extremely important, and it needs to be changed. We need to respect nature and the cycle of decomposition. We need to make sure that the clothes we make can go back into the ground at the very least.
Alona: I think there is a need for both. The clothes that we are looking at aren’t necessarily super utilitarian. There is a need to find a middle ground between high fashion, which we put a lot of time and value into and something more accessible, which can turn into a natural solution for people to have more of an emotional connection with their clothing.
Dieter: The issue with this entire debate of sustainability, is that it is projected to be equal. That allows for so much elitism because it is so expensive. There is this glorification of everybody thinking that their designs should last forever. But maybe, they should just be made from compostable materials.
Alona: If we are in a trend of people wanting disposable clothes, it is about changing the material.
Dieter: Some so many designers are emerging right now. If everybody focuses on making things that are gonna last, there will be too much.
Alona: Currently, people are looking at their clothes as disposable. If we will continue this way, we need to find alternatives.
“What would happen if we treated our clothes the way we treat the food that we put into our bodies?”
NM: Right now, we are constantly confronted with the seduction to shop. I am not saying you should shop every week, but we do live in a capitalist society, and detaching yourself from the urge to buy and not falling into marketing traps is super hard. Just go on Instagram or walk from here to the station- you will be confronted with advertisements. It is interesting to see someone tackling the issue of materiality.
Linus: Yes, it is the responsibility of the people that make the clothes, and not the consumer. I get it – I constantly judge everything I do. I understand if you have no connection to all we just talked about, I completely get it. We as designers have a responsibility to do better.
Alona: I feel that changing global habits is something that is so much harder than actually changing the product.
Dieter: An interesting food for thought is the question of what would happen if we treated our clothes the way we treat the food that we put into our bodies. It is something that we wear every day, it is in direct contact with our skin and our body. If we treated it like something that needs to be made out of organic and natural materials, those clothes could potentially be composted just like we compost our food.