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Workshop by Otto von Busch

In February 2010 students of the Editorial and Fashion Design pathways took part in a workshop "Fashion Proactionary" by Otto Von Busch. Von Busch is an artist, activist, fashion theorist and designer. He holds a PhD in critical fashion design from Göteborg University in Sweden.

"A critical perspective within fashion design exposes several cul-de-sacs or dead ends, as there seems to be inescapable paradoxes within fashion as a phenomenon; it is elitist while democratic, rebellious while uniform, shallow while political, artistic while totally commercial. With a critical agenda many fashion designers exceed with rich analysis and healthy distance with their subject, but often come to lack agency and paths for advancement, which is problematic in a field which usually promises a brave new future. Problematic issues around power, gender, consumerism, post-colonialism, sustainability and health often seem unmanageable and without real room for action. To preserve agency, critical design practice needs tactics to circumvent the anti-position, escape reactionary postures and move to higher ground for new perspectives. Fashion needs a proactionary discourse to expose new lines of flight.

During the workshop we create the first thematic issues of a handmade, hand drawn and photocopied zine, which attempts to move beyond the reactionary stance of criticism. We form a temporary editorial design committee to discuss, design, document and draw micro-utopian, pro-active and activism-based lines of practice. What can fashion be in a post-crisis world? What is post-sustainable? What is post-dressed-for-success, post-fashionable? What is fashion for community building, for skill enhancement, for liberation, for real social change? What would this future look like – and what would this mean to fashion designers and fashion media?"