Carte Blanche

Fashion for freedom

Subbacultcha people are creatives, and we thought it was about time we started sharing some of their work. Every month we ask one of our members to create: a text, a photoshoot; a video; a poem; a story. We give them the freedom to create something of their liking, and provide a canvas for sharing it, right here. This month we give our canvas to Sia Rosenberg, a young Belgian designer, who has a few words to say about the world of fashion and how she would like to change it. 

Words by Sia Rosenberg
Pictures by Marion Berrin

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I would not consider myself a typical fashion designer. I find the word ‘fashion’ a bit annoying, or at least the sound of the word and the presumptions that stick to it. I like to consider myself a creator of human-related interaction. I believe it is exactly what clothes are about; always in this non-verbal conversation with us, humans.

In our highly visual world, appearance is a strong significant —clothes do make the man, regardless of whether you are fashion or anti-fashion. The concept of fashion, despite my previously mentioned annoyance, is as clear as the surface on a calm lake in the woods. It reflects how we see ourselves and the messages we want our surroundings to read in us. Sometimes it’s deliberate, sometimes it’s not.

I recently launched my project The Free Design Initiative in which I intend to separate myself from the flow of consumerism, the dictation of a seasonal colour, or whatever the trendsetting bureaus sell to the hungry fashion industry’s hunt for profit provided by blinded consumers who trust in what they are being told to buy.

The collective imagination appears stronger than that of the individual one. Most designers work to serve it, not their own inspiration. With the launch of The Free Design Initiative I aim to explore the human interaction and make room for the inspiration to evolve, regardless of what the fashion cycles dictate.

One year ago I was in the middle of my masters’ final project. As part of a social integration project, my university had arranged two Syrian refugees to assist us fashion students in the production of our graduate collections. The refugees came from Aleppo, where, before the war, they used to work as tailors creating garments for the Syrian population.

The integration project turned out to be a huge success. Even though we didn’t speak the same language it was easy to communicate through body language, sketches and visual materials. I was amazed by their techniques and their knowledge of the textile craftsmanship. A craftsmanship that has slowly disappeared in the Western world due to the fast fashion and outsourcing of production.

Meeting the refugees inspired me hugely to create a foundation; a a creative lab that makes clothing and textile projects and where stories and different cultures are able to change hands. The Free Design Initiative just started and together with skilled refugees and their background as craftsmen- or women, we are at the very beginning of the development of our first collection.

The Free Design Initiative’s doors are open for visits and collaborations. Feel free to stop by their studio in Brussels or check out their work in progress here. You can also give them a hand through their crowdfunding here

If you are a member and have something you want to tell us, mail us at valerie@subbacultcha.be. As a Subbacultcha member you also get free access to all our concerts and events. Become one here