Critical making

The iD fashion show in 2020 moved online, curated by Prof Margo Barton, Dr Jane Malthus and Moira White.

Critical making for us also involves investigations into materiality, such as experimenting with creating new forms of material, new ways of using old materials, different uses for new materials, and using materials not usually associated with garments. Does the design honour the material, or is the material being forced into forms it does not want to hold? What happens if that occurs? What histories, cultures, memories and emotions do the materials bring to the design? What connections between design and materials am I creating in my combinations?

Consideration of the body and person that will wear the fashions created is vital too. Are the designs effective on the body and how do they affect the wearer? Do they provide comfort and protection – physical, and / or emotional? What is their sensorial impact on the wearer and viewer?

Thinking and acting sustainably is critical for all of us. Trying not to add to climate change effects, but to act in ways that might reduce them, using practices that are sustainable for people, the environment and one’s design business, and thinking through the implications of one’s choices in making fashion, are all explicit elements of fashion design practice now.

The designers featured in this Critical Making: Contemporary Fashion Practices Symposium Exhibition we think demonstrate that they have integrated these multiple aspects of critical making. They have shown intuition, skill and reflection in their creative practices, challenging their own and others’ assumptions and using multiple ways of knowing in their fashion outcomes. 

Image: Front view of “Ocean Waves”(Design 1 and 2), ChinaGuoxiang Yuan, Donghua University, Shanghai, used with permission

February 2021