Arnhem, March 24, a new year, and a new world due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, a time when people are looking en masse for a new form of reflection and immaterial possession through meaning, or PURPOSE.

Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem this year, together with designers and artists, investigates in a hybrid festival format how the desire for meaning manifests itself in fashion and design. And how the fashion system is reinventing itself.

The festival is all about PURPOSE, but certainly also about REPURPOSE and a reset of the fashion system in a contemplative way. The festival zooms in on the way in which fashion and product design responds to the changing focus from material to immaterial happiness and meaning, based on the ten dimensions.

The ten dimensions refer to domains such as consumption, equality, ratio, emotion, empathy and are derived from the Tree of Life of the Kabbalistic teaching, with the aim of finding a perfect balance through a combination of these dimensions, allowing visitors to see that contemporary ideas about meaning, sustainability and the fashion system, are not black and white, but rather look for a new balance.

FDFA offers a high-quality hybrid festival from June 3 to July 3, 2021, where online and offline events alternate and complement each other. Every week a number of dimensions from the overarching theme 'PURPOSE' are highlighted. FDFA offers depth on the theme every week by means of videos and hybrid events. The programming takes place mainly on Thursdays and Fridays in June and is organized in collaboration with partners of the FDFA.

The digital program consists of an opening week with designer talks on the theme PURPOSE within the ten dimensions. Throughout the month, the FDFA presents digital programs, such as video interviews with the talents within the dimensions, how they create videos about the creative process and craft with local Arnhem designers and substantive visual installations. The FDFA lets experts talk about the hacks for a sustainable, upcycled wardrobe, and where clothing comes from.

The FDFA gives a seminar on PURPOSE & RE-PURPOSE and within the themes talks are hosted about sustainable projects such as The Linen Project and Fashion For Good about the future of circular design and new biobased materials. The Linen Project is investigating whether it is possible to start the local production of flax, linen and (linen) products in a sustainable manner in the Netherlands, so that the quality and origin of the products can be brought back to a local level. On the interactive parts, workshops are given in crafts such as screen printing and knitting. During the Fashion Month, the final exam students of ArtEZ University of Arts and Rijn IJssel Creative Industry will show their graduation collections.

The physical program of the FDFA will consist of local, small-scale events with the local partners, a tour along different dimensions through the city, which can be taken alone, and a shop exhibition ArtEZ Toile de Luxe will be photos of ArtEZ Fashion Design Bachelor students. exhibited at various locations in the city center and the Modekwartier. Together with the PURPOSE exhibition, these form a route through the city. The program is continuous in the month of June.

The FDFA fulfills a regional platform function in the field of fashion, which links regional professionals and organizations in fashion and design and communicates current fashion and design themes. The role of the designer in the interaction with the user is central to the festival. This happens to a large extent during June Fashion Month, when FDFA bundles various initiatives and presents them to the outside world together.

The last generations in the Netherlands have grown up in a consumer society in which fast fashion, rapid trend changes and mass consumption are the norm. Property and capital are equivalent to wealth in today's Western culture. Due to the internet and social media, beauty ideals are taking on more and more unnatural forms worldwide. Driven by algorithms, the pressure to live up to these ideals is mounting. The performance society dictates an unending quest for perfection, but the downside of the quest is an increase in burnouts. And the use of antidepressants and drugs is on the rise. At the same time, a counter-movement is emerging in which the interest in mindfulness and yoga expresses itself in a search for a deeper form of meaning. In short, this group wants to rethink today's performance society. And they are trying to change the consumption patterns that underlie it.

The University of Utah concluded that spiritual experiences cause the brain to produce dopamine and provide much the same pleasure as with sex, gambling and the use of stimulants. More than ever, we seem to be looking for meaning and happiness in our lives. Happiness that we apparently don't find in our current, busy performance society. Following this trend, the Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem this year focuses on the theme of meaning with its participating designers, artists, partners and the public on the basis of the ten dimensions.

Photography: Wendelien Daan © 2020
Styling: Mary-Lou Berkulin
Models: Lisette Ros, Liv ten Thije, Robin Griffin
Assistant Photo: Robin Griffin