OPEN CALL
DEADLINE: 16 DEC 21

Radical
Fashion
Practices:
A Workbook
of Modes
and Methods

Deadline extended:
16 Dec
We are seeking activities that re-imagine fashion as a design process, product and symbolic form. Radical Fashion Practices assembles methods for learning and practicing fashion in meaningful, radical and responsible ways. Published by Valiz, the book will be a tool for design students, designers, writers, and practitioners of diverse disciplines to challenge fashion as a commodity and industrial system in these times of uncertainty and upheaval.
eds. Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran & Laura Gardner

Contributions

We are seeking contributions that explore fashion in the expanded field. They should embrace interdisciplinarity, experimentation and aesthetic play to critique fashion’s politics and economics, destabilise its hierarchies and widen its horizons as a medium for expression, embodiment and sociality. Tried, tested, and speculative contributions are welcome. Please read through the themes below, and identify one that aligns with the contributed activity in the embed form. You may submit up to three assignments in the form below before December 16, 2021.

Email Daphne and Laura if you have any questions about your submission or the project: radicalfashionpractices@gmail.com

Who

Designers, curators, researchers, artists, educators, fashion practitioners, anyone from fashion education, research and industry, anywhere in the world.

Successful contributors will be reviewed by a selection panel and notified by February 1 2022 at the latest. Selection will be based on quality, originality and the diversity of practices represented by the contributors. If accepted, contributors will be supported editorially in order to prepare their contribution for publication. Published contributors will receive two copies of the book.

We call for activities relating to the following themes…

a. IMAGE

The image (moving and still) has become the primary medium for communication in fashion. IMAGE activities might, on the one hand, explore the smooth, high-production, digital facade of the contemporary fashion image via its key ingredients: the body, pose, and framing, or, on the other, how its conventions are being interrogated and remade through so-called ‘bad image-making’: glitches, memes, photobombs, failures, cliches, and distortions. Activities in this section can also explore new imaging technologies and address how a brand image is formed.

b. TEXT

Text in fashion—from the fashion caption to the show review—has been essential to the seasonal systems of production and offers a way to rethink, critique and rewrite its commercial forces. Activities about TEXT explore the artistic, poetic and experimental dimensions of text in fashion, and how they can be used as methods to interrogate fashion and question its presumed materialities.

c. SYSTEMS of POWER

The fashion industry is predominantly organised around economic, political and cultural systems of power within the global economy. These activities attempt to shift the self-reinforcing power structures of fashion by acknowledging diverse voices, bridging differences, and drawing in the margins to propose new ways of being together through fashion. They also might facilitate collective action and dissonance, critique hierarchies, forge communities and create conversation and exchange from the grassroots up.

d. DREAM — WORLDS

Dreams can be positive, utopian visions, but in fashion, the material reality of these utopian reveries are oftentimes veiled nightmares. With the materialisation of fashion dreams also come images, representatives, offshoots, copies, and other media attendant to the products of fashion. Activities here might explore dream-worlds—utopian and dystopian—that relate to fashion as a collective mental state and the poetics of possibility.

e. ARCHAEOLOGY

Fashion’s newness is never new; it continually self-references and reaches back into the past. The study of fashion history is both systematic and interpretive, it narrates the present as much as it does the past. Activities addressing the theme of ARCHAEOLOGY explore new ways for fashion to engage with history and counter historical imbalances.

f. MAKING

Behind contemporary industrial fashion and its promise for a sustainable future looms a modernist industrial system of production based on capitalist values of growth, distributed labour, profits at any cost. Activities addressing the theme of MAKING reimagines how fashion is produced, and also what it produces. This includes methods for the fashion process: construction methods, form-making, technical innovation and material explorations, at scales of both the individual body, and the global system.

g. PERFORMANCE

Fashion is—on many scales—continually being performed. From the shifting coordinates and traditions of the ‘runway’, new modes of practice in the exhibition space, and emerging approaches in high-performance wear, this theme explores how fashion is performed today to propose new approaches for future practice. Activities explore ‘performing fashion’ in exhibition, show and film contexts; as well as ‘fashion as performance’ and innovative approaches within high performance clothing and sportswear.

h. THE BODY

Fashion has an essential relationship with the body, from the fleshy body to the hard, standardised sizing systems—both relate to the intimate embodiment of wear. It also has a habit of excluding and idealising bodies. The theme of BODY critiques these limiting and defining practices by finding ways to include marginalised or differently-abled bodies within the system of fashion. It also explores wear, a garment’s relationship to it’s real or potential wearer and the role of the body within the making and material process.

i. VALUE

Fashion, foremost, is a system of value production and commodification. Activities responding to this theme might look at fashion’s fickle conditions of value and authenticity through the paradigm of the ‘replica’, ornament, branding and the diffusion of luxury, and exchange between different systems of value, to challenge the corporate entities that ordain what we value in fashion.

Submit an activity

Submit your instructions / activity / workshop / exercises / approach / brief below. Your exercise should be written in engaging and clear language, and be transferable, i.e. able to be employed by students, practitioners, everyday people.

NOTE: Submit the activity itself (not a proposal or abstract). You may submit up to 3 activities.

See three examples of submissions in this PDF.

All images, text, and media should be yours or free of rights
Dr Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran is Program Manager of the Bachelor of Textiles (Design) and lectures in the Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) and Master of Fashion (Design) at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She holds a PhD from Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo. She is interested in what materials and relationships can emerge in communities of human and nonhuman people. In her research and design practice she works with handmade Japanese paper and garments/products made from paper. She does this through storytelling and documentation in various formats including film, drawing, text, audio, etc, as well as experimentation in the studio. She is currently undertaking research projects on the topic of clothing made from the Paper Mulberry Tree for the British Museum and The Australian Museum.
Dr Laura Gardner is an editor, lecturer and co-publisher of Mode and Mode. She holds a PhD from RMIT University, and her research and projects focus on the methodologies of experimental publishing and the performative and critical potential of the page in fashion and other creative fields. She lectures in the School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT, as well as freelance writing and editing for fashion and art press. Recent writing includes: Viscose, Monument, 299 792 458 m/s, Press & Fold, and Flash Art Online. Talks and panels include Printing Fashion (Parsons Paris), ArtEZ, London College of Fashion (UAL), NGV Art Book Fair Symposium, RMIT Design Hub, and Lyonhousemuseum. She sits on the Director’s Circle of the International Library of Fashion Research (ILFR).
Website design by Rm
The development of this Radical Fashion Practices open call has, in part, been inspired by Wicked Arts Assignments, a book and project by Emiel Heijnen, Melissa Bremmer, Sanne Kersten (eds.), Amsterdam University of the Arts/Valiz, Amsterdam, 2020.
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