The city of Amsterdam, a metropolitan with the largest city population in the Netherlands, has always been a center for fashion, music festivals, and diversity. The city is characterized as “slightly rebellious, adventurous, opinionated, never afraid to make a statement and always individual.” Presently, Amsterdam’s fashion industry has taken a road to sustainability, facing ecological issues critically through sustainable and second-hand wear. However, is a critical approach the only way to acknowledge and respond to the extreme ecological and biodiversity issues we are facing in our world today? Can we acknowledge these issues compassionately through the celebration and appreciation of our planet’s ecosystem and biodiversity?
We, Mediamatic, believe so. The growing global appreciation for our abundant planet’s biodiversity and the value of our Earth’s species both microscopic and gigantic has given Mediamatic a perspective to break our anthropocentric worldview through the use of costumes as a tool for celebration and immersion. Many different cultures around the world have used costumes as a tool of storytelling through the escapism of their human selves and by doing so appreciating the entity through the embodiment of their contextual environment or culture. Costumes are a medium that can facilitate our goal to emphasize and celebrate both minute and substantial occurrences in our planet. By immersing ourselves and putting one in the shoes of “others” such as different species, we can gain a deeper understanding and celebrate the importance of our planet’s conglomeration of species and their unique peculiarity and traits.
On the 2nd of September 2021, Mediamatic collaborated with Amsterdam Fashion Academy in creating 30 costume designs of a variety of species to advocate and celebrate biodiversity. Students of Amsterdam Fashion Academy as a central activity of their introduction week were given a creative assignment on creating a Do-it-yourself (DIY) costume design proposal. The premise is to use fashion as a medium to promote empathy for other species on our planet. Selected costume designs from the students will be presented and produced for Dutch Design Week 2021 as part of Mediamatic’s art program: Biodiversity Carnaval — Costume LAB and published in a DIY costume guide that will be exhibited in our pop up show. Our larger goal is to use the DIY costume guide as a starting point to hack Dutch Carnival 2022 with animal outfits and infiltrate the festivities with the theme of biodiversity, to further celebrate the importance of our planet’s species.
I amsterdam. “Fashion Industry in Amsterdam: I AMSTERDAM.” Fashion industry in Amsterdam | I amsterdam. I amsterdam, 2021.