Deep Fashion - fashion reimagined
In the practices of fashion, how can we create our own community scenes of autonomy to liberate citizen agency, yet still engage in the phenomenon of fashion?
With inspiration from the Brazilian political thinker Roberto Unger, we may think of some more engaging forms of fashion. For example, Unger envisions a “deep freedom” where the very structure of democracy is reimagined. However, as Unger suggests, “the world suffers under a dictatorship of no alternatives. Although ideas all by themselves are powerless to overthrow this dictatorship we cannot overthrow it without ideas.”
In a similar vein, also fashion suffers from a lack of alternatives and visions of how it could be radically different, how it could be a “deep fashion.” Now, is the type of fashion we see around us really the best we can imagine? Is the cheap and accessible form of consumerism we see today the best way to engage in fashion? Except for the unsustainable parts, is the current fashion system really the best form of fashion we can imagine? What fashion practices can challenge the very foundations of consumerism?
As an answer, Unger calls for a “democratic experimentalism”, combining the hope of the democrat with practical action. This means “to find an overlap between the conditions of practical progress and the requirements of individual emancipation” and “the empowerment of humanity to act upon the world.” We better ask ourselves, what is a type of fashion that makes it possible for us to act upon the world? What is a fashion that is more "deep" than the mere act of consumerism?
For fashion we must sharpen our practice, and also dare to think anew. We should ask, how does real progress manifest in the realm of dress, and how can fashion as a human condition become an instrument of emancipation and empowerment, beyond the limited scope of consumer economy and aesthetic and social competition?
The Deep Fashion Bulletin is a seasonal gazette which will further the idea of Deep Fashion and offer a constructive and experimental program for a deeper engagement with fashion as a tool for civic engagement and cooperation.
download Deep Fashion Bulletin No. 1 (December 2015, Vienna) [pdf]
download Deep Fashion Bulletin No.2 (March 2016, New York) [pdf]
download Deep Fashion Bulletin No.3 (September 2016, New York) [pdf]