Berlin

The participants from Berlin under the supervision of Professor Thorbjorn Uldam were mainly addressing the question of whether fashion design beyond a visual perspective is possible at all. The students drew inspiration from the exchange with visual impaired participants and developed experimental design approaches. In their research they were particularly focusing on the tactile perception, the sense of touch, reflected by the use of unusual materials. The students presented their first drafts in front of a non-seeing jury.

Three Men in a bright room with chairs, chalkboard and shelves with textiles and clothes in the background. Young man in the center laughing and striking a pose with his upper body turned to the side and his hands forming a square shape. Man to his left in Jeans and remarkably colorful patterned sweater, laughing with hand on his mouth. Man on the right with white cane is turned towards the windows.
Bright room with white walls, long chalkboard on the back wall Six People, all women, in the picture, three of them sitting with their backs turned to the viewer turned towards the others which are standing across the room. Three models presenting different outfits they are wearing, the one on the right with a sleeping mask. The Women sitting in the chairs are wearing sleep masks. Clothes from left to right: Woman with short dark hair wearing different fabrics of white color in ruffled layers, medium length sleeves. Two stripes of navy blue fabric are falling down from her shoulders like a flat scarf Woman in the middle in a simplistic style: Hair in a tight bun, calmly looking at one of the women in front of her, wearing a large piece of crème-white fabric without detectable sleeves, covering her body in generous layers. On her front the white fabric is covered with a piece of a fine white mesh material. The model with the sleeping mask is smiling, wearing some sort of oversized pattern coat put together of very different fabrics and colors, holding them together with her left arm. The model is wearing a jeans dress as her first layer, then a long piece of striped brown fabric connected to nostalgic flower-patterned clothing with burgundy-colored pieces of ruffle material.
Group of women and men, most of them with sleeping masks, standing in a large room with chairs and white desks in the background, surrounding a person in the center: a slim, tall woman with dark, rather short hair, also wearing a sleeping mask  She is wearing a high-closed wide, oversized dress-like fabric in different shades of blue. At some spots the fabric is sticking out in a wave-like sort of way from her body. The fabric has sewing lines in a dynamic pattern.  While slightly bending over, the woman is turning towards the group. Two woman to her left are softy placing their hand on the right sleeve, feeling the surface and the texture of the dress. The other people surrounding her are talking, making gestures about the clothes.
Close-up of a young man and two women in the background, all standing in a bright room with a chalkboard behind them. On the chalkboard a poster with fashion photos of models, which have been covered with orange-colored pieces of paper, except for the feet and shoes.  The young man with waving hair wearing a greyish blue linen shirt, gesticulating passionately with his sleeves rolled. He is wearing a slim green bracelet and two rings on his left hand.  His face shows focus and drive. The two women are smiling amused, both wearing neutral white tops and black pants, and a curtain-like piece of fashion: numerous strings hanging down from a wide (hoola) hoop, covering main parts of the models bodies while still allowing a glance through the gaps. The model on the left is wearing a hat-construction on her head supporting the hoop half a meter above. orange strings attached to her hoop. The left woman´s head and shoulders are still visible, her hoop is beard by some sort of corset with wire rods, creating the impression of her standing in a big cylinder.
Woman on the right talking and smiling and making explaining gestures towards someone, a stack off different fashion patterns in her left hand. On chalkboard behind several sheets with designs interlaced threads. Woman left to her is wearing radiant white half-transparent organza-fabric in a layered Design, her eyes laid on the talking woman.

Located in the heart of Kreuzberg, one of Berlin‘s most legendary quartiers, ESMOD Fashion school is not only a central address for fashion, but also a beautiful and inspiring place. The building resembles an old monastery, and with its generous inner yard, it omits a peaceful and calm atmosphere. Inside, however, the atmosphere is anything but calm and quiet: the German participants of BEYOND SEEING are cutting, sewing and making last adjustments to the creations they are about to present.

Three months after the kick-off meeting in Paris, the German participants of BEYOND SEEING are giving an insight to first concepts they have created. The International Research Workshop in Berlin is the first out of four workshops taking place in the respective participating countries. Through the designs they are about to present to a blindfolded jury, the young designers have tried to find an answer to the three questions that lie at the core of BEYOND SEEING:

CAN WE CREATE WITHOUT SEEING?
WHO AM I WHEN I DON’T SEE MYSELF?
DOES A WORLD WITHOUT IMAGES EXIST?


Maxi starts her presentation with a report of her experience during the whole creational process. Being blindfolded immediately stimulated her imagination, while at the same time evoking a feeling of isolation. Through her designs, she tried to find ways of combatting this emotion by turning pieces of cloth into safe and snugly living spaces.

Joyphie is the second one to present her works. By creating her designs with the help of a strict mathematical formula, she aims for an unconventional, unbiased and subconscious way of creating. With reference to Romanian-German author Herta Mueller, Joyphie created her formula by deconstructing one of her favorite songs and then putting it together in a new way. She documented her way of recombining the dissolved elements and turned the abstract pattern into an equation. By creating a formula that can be reapplied to future projects and works completely independent of sight, she has literally looked beyond seeing and found a way to create without vision.

Verena is up next. Through a contact built at the kick-off meeting, Verena got to know Ugne Metzger, a visually impaired woman from Berlin. Ugne told Verena about an image that kept occurring in her dreams: a tree, one half of it burnt from being struck by lightning, the other blooming and colourful. In her designs, Verena references this motive as metaphor for Ugne learning to enjoy life and feel beautiful again after losing her vision. Her semi-transparent gowns begin to blossom when filled with a variety of fabrics and materials.

Valentin’s design was also inspired by a conversation with a visually impaired BEYOND SEEING-acquaintance. Participant Reiner Delgado told Valentin about the importance that sounds such as the clicking of a high heel touching the floor have to his perception of objects. Valentin created a construction that veils the models’ outfit, allowing spectators to only see their shoes. He argues that shoes are often seen as the completing touch to a look, but that for the visually impaired, they signify even more than that. As shoes are the only pieces of clothing that create sounds, they are the first and often the only impression that can be gained from an outfit without seeing.

Noemi, who took the question if we can create without seeing literally, is up last. She listened to a fairytale and abstracted and translated its story onto white paper. Turning the narrative arch into a creational pattern, she archived her emotions and brought them to life in her designs. The garments born out of this process are prototypes, since she is still searching for the best material to use to create a haptic experience that is coherent to the story.

Further Workshops