By Branko Popovic
FASHIONCLASH presented with Fashion My Religion! the 10-year anniversary edition of the international and interdisciplinary FASHIONCLASH Festival. From 15 – 17 of June 2018 more than 150 promising designers and stage performers from all over the globe more where given the stage at the festival that was composed within a 3-day program The Route: an inspiring pilgrimage along 26 locations with expositions, theatre- and dance performances and talks.
The show scenography and concept were developed by Studio Akatak and Scott Robin Jun, giving the overall experience a layered exploration of the theme.
The overarching theme Fashion My Religion! boldly dove into one of the most current themes of the moment; religion. Specifically, the relation between religion and gender, hair style and clothing.
FASHIONCLASH challenged participants and visitors to research, highlight or break existing religious traditions and taboos by way of using fashion. A call to activism that hopefully inspires a new generation of fashion- makers and lovers to fulfil their role as meaningful as they can.
The meeting between fashion and religion isn’t a new one. Religious idioms and luxury have been used for decades by many within context fashion. Sometimes just for ethical motives, other times with a dose of criticism. With ‘Fashion My Religion’, FASHIONCLASH placed the audience and the designers in an interesting area of tension; fashion versus religion or avant-garde versus tradition and by taking a closer look at cultural expressions of personal, modern meaning and more traditional ones. We placed historical absolutes opposite from modern-day fluid truths by really going in on social matters such as, feminism and human rights. Through (fashion)design we dissect the ever-changing awareness around the relationship we have with our environment and come up with new stories and approaches to ‘fashion and religion’.
Inflating the Pink church on the Vrijthof, the Koorkappen project, God is a Woman! Project, and the impressive dance performance LUX by Sally Dance Company or Noumenon by Mami Izumi and Jivika Biervliet, were just few examples of this clash.
The festival program contained a series of theme related theatre and dance crossovers, including the performance ‘HUNTING’ by Nora Ramakers and Timo Tembuyser, The Joker by Anthony van Gog and ‘MISSA HOMO SACER Op. 35 Confiteor Deo’ by Timo Tembuyser.
At the Mosae Forum, a special project was presented, called Dialoque Between Fashion and Death by Nina Willems, who collaborated with fashion designer Marlou Breuls and director Eva Line de Boer, based on the romantic poem by Giacomo Leopardi.
One of my personal highlight was the ‘B E K H O M O R E H E N A’ performance by Iranian designer Zahra Hosseini. Her mission is to bring back the beauty of Islam, fighting against the misconception of Muslims in the media and today’s society. She aims to do this by focusing on the peacefulness of ‘Azan’, the Islamic prayer call, recited by the Muezzin. Azan, meaning ‘to hear, to listen, and to be informed about’. ‘Allahuakbar” meaning ‘god is great’, is repeated during this. This beautiful word has been destroyed and begins to distort our perceptions in the media.
Many designers showed collections in line with the theme, like the Italian designer Daria D’Ambrosio or the Dutch designer Teun Seuren.
The beauty of it all, whether the festival provided the answers to posed questions or if fashion is your religion or not, it is fashion that brought us together. It is because of fashion and the driving devotion of all people involved that fuel the FASHIONCLASH spirit.
Until we meet again.
Photography: Team Peter Stigter, Branko Popovic