APRIL 2020 : A research into the identity of contemporary tribes
Saskia van Gelder: As teacher and program coordinator of the Man & Identity program at the Design Academy Eindhoven this year Saskia was invited as guest teacher at our department. With a vast experience as trend and material forecaster and concept maker Saskia is an expert in intuitive and sensitive research for future design applications.
Contemporary Style Tribes
Clothing styles underline the identity (or the desired identity) of those who wear them and they reflect their engagement with contemporary society. Nowadays people can give meaning to their personal life and define their own lifestyle and identity, joining any subculture and co-create the identity of the chosen kinfolk. By observing people, especially in alternative, underground or outcast settings, decoding their looks and identifying their culture, designers can learn a lot about the zeitgeist and new style developments that may influence future fashion and lifestyle.
The assignment for this project is to research how a particular community lives, how they look and why they do so.
The students are encouraged to act like anthropologists, searching for an inspiring new style tribe. An intriguing looking group of friends that you spotted in the hottest club of Rotterdam? An obscure music scene in the outskirts of Kiev or Dakar? An agricultural collective of environmentalist feminists in the mountains of Nevada? The goal is to investigate and determine the style/lifestyle, look for connections in history, interview people, read books and newspapers and present a conclusion in a visually creative way.
Students Inez van Kessel, Liselotte Oostra and Sarah Belkafir, all Fashion Year 2, took the KABK itself as their hunting ground for style communities and mapped out a myriad of micro-communities - a survey with a knowing nod, presented as a card game.
Post Corona Kinfolk
The extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic pushed this project in a different direction. To respond as hands-on as possible, the Kinfolk assignment turned into a very topical challenge. How would these future style tribes continue after the crisis? Would they change radically? Would there be different needs? What specific style choices would happen? Because of this uncharted territory, the second part of this project became a prediction-making, future-envisaging assignment. Students were asked to create images and designs of how their new communities would act, dress, feel and live. With creativity and imagination as key requirements, the future style tribes dreamed up by the students took on a wildly varied and inspired turn.
Tule Boys by Britt van As (Fashion Year 2) - gym rats, business men and protesters finding new ways of standing out and getting noticed.
A future scenario by Signe Gronlund (Fashion Year 2) - feminism beating anti-feminism - pandemic-style.
A future style community by Stijn Koks (Fashion Year 2) - hard men with toys, tough guys becoming their toys.