From the perspective of a.o. feminism, race, queerness, engagement, ecology, production and preservation, Design in Conservative Times wishes to lay bare the intricacies and dynamics of design(er) within conservative culture today.
Graphic design in conservative times: Roosje Klap (feminist issue), Jerome Harris (the race issue) and Annelys De Vet (the cultural-political issue)
Fashion design in conservative times: Yamuna Forzani (The queer issue), Studio PMS and Marjanne van Helvert (the ecological issue) and....
What constitutes the role of the supposedley progressive and innovative design-field and the designer within our current, conservative landscape? Whether concerning our ecologies, technologies, economies, ethics, politics, or social norms, we appear to be stuck somewhere between outrageous production and excessive preservation. Within this radically contrasting landscape of oppositions, discussion, frictions, questions, hopes, dreams and whatnot we ask ourselves: have we reached the epitome of a quid pro quo within our designed society at large?
Seven engaged makers and thinkers coming from the field of both graphic design and fashion design explore and reflect upon the conservative currents and cadence within our design(ed) culture today: reflecting through texts of practice based experiences of engaged approaches in design, on fracture of thoughts and doings. The focal point of this reflection-at-large ranges from hands-on issues within specific practices to the broader, more fundamental motivations that fuel them.
By inviting both graphic design and fashion design professionals to comment, reflect, promote, critique, provoke and/or contemplate on conservative culture in relation to their own visions, design practice, designed goods, we wish to lay bare the intricacies and dynamics of design(er) in society today.
Their unique and varied motivations contribute to this project by means of an essay, a lecture, a manifesto, a fictional story - anything goes as far as we’re concerned - to presented or performed as a keynote during Dutch Design Week 2019 as well as included in a publication. Each contributor is free to decide how both content and form(s) of expression take shape, as comment, critique, promotion, reflection, provocation or otherwise. Onomatopee only dictates the title - to frame and to fuel a sense of direction - as ‘(graphic or fashion) design in conservative times: the xxx issue’.
Jerome Harris is a graphic designer, educator, writer, and curator. In his practice, Harris focuses on the in- and exclusion of African-American graphic designers, thereby challenging the ubiquity of White and anti-Black aesthetics. Both through his personal and professional work, Harris embraces the aesthetics and methods of cultures on the periphery. He holds an MA from Yale University and a BA from Temple University. Harris is currently a teaching fellow at Maryland Institute College of Art.
Roosje Klap researches the experimental boundaries of custom fit design in a peculiar yet collaborative manner. Her research-based interdisciplinary approach allows her to challenge the boundaries of graphic design together with other artists, curators, writers, architects, and type designers. She holds a BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and is currently head of both the Graphic Design (BA) and Non Linear Narrative (MA) departments at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague.
Annelys de Vet is a Belgium based designer, curator and initiator, running a practice for gentle power and radical imagination. Her work explores the role of design in relation to the public and political discourse. The practice of design is manifested as a critical agency of social processes, which can govern dialogues, reflection, understanding, and debate. She is founding and artistic director of the design label ‘Disarming Design from Palestine’ and is head of a master and masterclass program at Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.
Yamuna Forzani’s textile masterpieces can be described as political, positive anarchy. She is an activist fashion and textile designer, advocating for the LGBTQ community within and throughout her practice. Her collections have been previously presented by means of a fashion show voguing performance - a physical manifestation of acceptance, equality and freedom of sexuality. In her practice, Forzani stands for collaboration, colour, coexistence and compassion. She holds a BA in Textile & Fashion from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague.
Studio PMS is a Utrecht-based fashion collective, exploring possibilities of digitizing the fashion design process. Their project ‘In Pursuit of Tactility’ is a research into the preservation of tactility within digital fashion and a first step towards a progressive fashion revolution. Studio PMS is founded by Puck Martens, Merle Kroezen, and Suzanne Mulder, all three graduates from the Fashion Design department at Hogeschool der Kunsten (HKU) in Utrecht.
Marjanne van Helvert is a textile designer, researcher and writer. After an MA Cultural Studies at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, she received a BA in Textile Design from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In her work, Van Helvert delves into the dynamics between design theory and practice with a special focus on the relation between ethics and aesthetics in design. Her ‘Dirty Design Manifesto’ and publication ‘The Responsible Object’ are examples of Van Helvert’s quest for the role of the idealistic contemporary designer.