Authentic Fashion Products!

Aïcha Abbadi

April / April - 2018

Universität der Künste Berlin


'Authentic Fashion Products!' is at once an installation and a workshop, a conceptual design work about global production processes, ethical and cultural values in the fashion and textile industry.

What is the Topic?

Tied together through a web of global interdependencies with complex histories, fashion's international trade perpetuates many of the power imbalances established by imperial and colonial forces. At the same time, designers seek to push past these inequalities through inclusive design, collaboration and fair production. Best and worst practice exist side by side, filling the market with fair trade and greenwashing, originals and copies. There are no simple solutions for the industry’s complex issues but an urgent need to rethink current practices. 'Authentic Fashion Products!' is an invitation to rethink the fashion system while actively contributing to it?

Why does it look like this?

The work takes on the shape of a pop-up workshop where visitors can become part of production. The wax printing process, which has repeatedly been appropriated in history and continuously industrialized further, is rethought and used to print fashion industry stories on bandanas, another often copied and reinvented product. Here, visitors can engage in a critical reflection about the system while actively contributing to it, experiencing firsthand the ethical dilemma of those involved in it.

What is special?

Fashion is usually concerned with the end product, leaving production processes in obscurity. Yet over time, consumer pressure on brands has become stronger for more supply chain transparency, sustainability and worker's rights. However, the reality and implementation can often be complex and ambiguous. The installation provides no easy solutions. Rather, it provides space for questioning and a peek behind the glossy surface.

What is new?

The work is part of an expanded fashion practice, where the task at hand is not to design fashion as clothing anymore but to shape a new perspective on the entire system. It is about slower, more conscious processes and about stepping back, which should provide the necessary distance to escape structures which are stuck an remake fashion as a whole.