Fashion Interactions is a multidisciplinary exhibition that explores fashion culture by means of contemporary art, design and media. The exhibited works comment, on the unsustainability of the fashion industry, analyze the relationship of fashion and corporeality, and investigate how people use clothing as a tool for building identities. The exhibition is Curated by Annamari Vänskä & Hazel Clark and it presents works from: Federico Cabrera, Heidi Lunabba, Jasmin Mishima, Anna Mustonen, Nutty Tarts, Timo Rissanen, Salla Salin, Heidi Soidinsalo, Saara Töyrylä and Timo Wright. This exhibition opens on Friday November 15, 2013 in New York City. It is a collaboration with Parsons The New School for Design and the SheilaC. Johnson Design Center, Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, and the Centre for Fashion Studies (Stockholm University).
(Fashion Interactions-exhibition, Timo Wright-‘un fit’ video still)
FASHION CURATING NOW is a daylong symposium at Parsons The New School for Design on Saturday November 16 9:30 am-5 pm. The symposium reflects the subjects around the Fashion Interactions exhibition focusing on the possibilities and challenges of contemporary fashion curating on a global scale. Critical points of view are stressed, as is contemplation of fashion’s kinship with art, design, industry, performance, and self-presentation. I asked a few questions from Leena-Maija Rossi, who is the Executive Director of Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, about the seminar and other related topics.
Firstindigo&Lifestyle: Can you explain the background of the seminar?
L-M Rossi: The background of the Fashion Curating Now is in the exhibition project Fashion Interactions. It has its origins in the show Boutique, curated by Annamari Vänskä, which was part of Helsinki’s World Design Capital year in 2012. Finnish Cultural Institute wanted to bring a new edition of the show to New York and partnered with Parsons New School for Design in order to do that. The process of “re-curating” an already existing exhibition made us think of curating fashion at large: how to present fashion in an interesting way “outside the market”? How to make engaging exhibitions on fashion, how to show its entwinement with fine art, how to find new fora for curating, e. g., in the new media? How to make visible the political aspects of fashion?
Firstindigo&Lifestyle: Finnish fashion and design have gained more international visibility, creating their own trends as well, how do you see current research field is following trends from the industry?
L-M Rossi: I see fashion research as a developing and dynamic field, especially when it connects with studies on class and consumerism, and, of course, studies of gender and sexuality. I do not know if the task for the research is to follow the trends, I rather see research as a field for critical interventions.
Firstindigo&Lifestyle: In Finland, it seems that industries have also been able to point to cultural questions, what do you see as current research themes coming from the field/industries themselves?
L-M Rossi: Sustainability is of course a timely research theme, and the way it intersects with the issue of class. I am also really interested in the potentiality of queer fashion research, and I would really like to see more analysis on gender nonconformity, not so much of equaling queer with identity categories.
Firstindigo&Lifestyle: Yourself, you have written about advertising, media, gender representations/performance-related, in the contemporary visual culture. What do you see this global exchange is giving to these themes?
L-M Rossi: I think fashion is a crucial part of visual culture at large, especially because of its border-crossing nature. Gender is being profoundly done by people’s choices of dressing up and wearing their clothes, and these choices are, again, influenced by advertising. So one could say that the fields of fashion and advertising are constantly participating in the global processes of doing and undoing gender.
Firstindigo&Lifestyle: How well or how do Finnish fashion industries communicate globally? How do you see the branding, would it be more individual voices than a canon etc.?
L-M Rossi: It seems that many Finnish designers communicate quite naturally in the international field of fashion. Like visual artists, I think they first and foremost present their individual voices; it is very difficult to build a uniform “brand.” But then again, many seem to be thinking of such issues as high quality materials and sustainability.
Firstindigo&Lifestyle: Art, fashion, design: How would you speed-describe these together?
L-M Rossi: Fashion and design are artforms, fashion is an interesting field within design. All of them make difference in everyday life.
(Fashion Interactions-exhibition, Nutty Tarts & Heidi Lunabba)
/// INFO: FASHION INTERACTIONS ///
Opening: Friday November 15, 6pm – 9pm
November 11 – December 13, 2013
Open daily 12pm – 6pm
Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School for Design
66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street, New York
The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, Frame Visual Art Finland and Consulate General of Finland in New York.
/// FASHION CURATING NOW ///
Symposium, Saturday November 16, 9:30am – 5:00pm
David Schwartz Fashion Education
Parsons The New School for Design
560 Seventh Avenue at 40th Street
Finnish Cultural Institute in New York Facebook.