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CLASH 2013

Fashionclash in Maastricht is the epicenter of avant-garde fashion and during the yearly CLASH project, non-fashion designers are taken out of their comfort zone and asked to create a clothing collection. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 27-06-2013

Initiator, designer and curator Matylda Krzykowski is the brains behind the CLASH project that for the past five years has invited ten designers from outside the realm of fashion to participate in Fashionclash. Held in Maastricht each year at the beginning of June, the SAMdecor factory formed the backdrop for a series of impressive catwalk shows and an exhibition this year. 

Polish-born Krzykowski came up with the CLASH concept when she was still a product-design student at the Academy of Visual Arts in Maastricht, finding many assignments un-challenging she saw the potential for adventures within the world of product design. About her interest in fashion she says: “It is replaceable and changes faster than product and furniture design. It can express who you are, what you do or who you  want to be. The body becomes an experimental surface.”

For the CLASH project, ten international non-fashion designers are approached by Krzykowski and asked to create a wearable piece of work for the catwalk. This year’s participants included photographer Madame Peripetie (UK), Laura Lynn Jansen & Thomas Vailly (NL), llot llov (DE) and textile designer Hermine van Dijkck (BE). Krzykowski picks the various designers from a specific work within their discipline that triggers her attention.  

“I start to wonder if they would like to do something out of their comfort zone and ask them. Photographer Madame Peripetie for example makes impressive settings for her images and acts as a sculptor rather than just an image maker. In the end my gut feeling was right and she made a piece that was very much a sculpture rather than just an outfit.”

Getting designers and artists to create wearable works however doesn’t always turn our as expected. “Each year some of the projects are too heavy for the models to wear or just impossible to put on the body. The designers forget that an actual human being has to carry the piece of work they make for us.”

This year, Dutch designer Philip Lüschen had to pull out of the show altogether as his envisaged blow-up tie formed a challenge too big. “He was one of the most ambitious participants with a very complex idea.” Unfortunately danger-issues with gas and a constantly-changing concept proved too much. “It was a good lesson to him and he wrote to me :'The fact that the things I would love to create can fail, is completely new for me. Dealing with this I experience as quite hard but hopefully will sharpened my future decisions.’ It proves that designing is not just creating a visual piece but can also become a lesson.”

Other times though, a piece can become so successful in its own right it is used again and again and inspires the maker onto a new career path. As was the case with Niek Pulles of Hey Niek, a CLASH participant in 2011. His body suit named Foamboy made out of black foam became an instant hit and has appeared at various events since. “Sometimes, when you allow people to become experimental , the experiment becomes the project.” 

Because creating new opportunities is what CLASH is about for Krzykowski, not necessarily the end product that is seen by the public on the catwalk but the process that has lead the designer there. When ten completely different yet imaginative collections come down the catwalk ranging from ethnic-inspired costumes to beautifully ‘moulaged’ dresses and bondage-inspired suits, it’s hard to believe the creatives behind them weren't already fashion designers in their own right. 

Main Image: Group CLASH

Images: 1. Maria Jeglinska 2. Madame Peripetie 3. Esther Noben 4.Tymek Jezierski & Maria Zaleska 5. Hermine van Dijck 6&7 Ellen & Rob Truijen 8.Christoph Knoth 9. llot llov 10.Agata Karolina Niemkiewicz 11.Laura Lynn Jansen & Thomas Vailly
all images Team Peter Stigter

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