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Radical Compassion

In reaction to the existing paradigm of the fashion industry, Gatzen has developed an alternative design curriculum at the Parsons School of Design in New York. Gatzen encourages her students to explore the relationship between fashion and reality. ‘We express ourselves through our clothes, and fashion is the aspect that connects us. In coming together we experience the unique quality of who we are. It is the place where we make choices and, when there is openness, we inspire each other, because we are moved by each other’s vulnerability or beauty: the extent to which we are open to others. And the beauty is never the big beauty – “the glossy one” – but is always unexpected. The real quality of the connection lies in the open environment within which we cannot reduce things, within which we cannot exert control. Many of my students do not go on to become fashion designers. They discover what makes them happy. And if what you do makes you happy, then you have so much to give. Then you have space for other people. And then partnership is no longer an issue, because you need each other. If we were all conscious of this we would suddenly be able to create an entirely different world together: a world in which we are together, where we feel at home, where we recognise that we are part of each other.’

Charlotte Corstanje

Temporary Fashion Museum
Guus Beumer
Maureen Mooren

This project is part of the programme track Things and Materials and the folder Material innovation.

Fashion has quietly renewed the very idea of renewal by constantly selling the past as a future, thereby framing current reality. This contrasts sharply with the idea that renewal always stems from technological innovation.