- 传统与先锋从来不是对立的两方,而所有不基于生活的设计都是诡辩

The topics to be addressed this month (JULY):

1) First of all, sustainability in fashion is discussed. What sustainable methods are used today and which ones are still to be invented? We look for the place where ideal meets reality, as well as what our objectives actually are.

2) Then, we would like to reconsider fast aesthetics, that momentary powerful impact that fashion is so good at making. Yet not all fashion leaves an imprint. What role do time and sequence play in the future?

3) Lastly, we create a connection to consumption. Here we look at fashion as commodity. Do we still consider fashion for the larger part as goods for public consumption or are alternative approaches in the make?


这个月的主题很有启发,正是我目前在做研究与设计的方向。借此主题,我将在写作展览初步陈述“思无邪,事以成 - 精诚所至,金石为开”之后,将这两个月以及未来的工作逐步做梳理与总结,作为这次展览项目的主体陈述部分。

在第一篇陈述“思无邪,事以成 - 精诚所至,金石为开”中,我回应了这次展览要讨论的前两个话题:1. “技术和材料如何影响设计”;2. “服装的身份认同”。在下文中,我将着重阐述3. ”重新定义消费、时尚产业、本土设计“。

3. 重新定义消费、时尚产业、本土设计



纪录片《河流与潮汐 / 安迪高茲沃斯的艺术人生》截图




捷克超现实动画大师杨·史云梅耶 Jan Svankmajer 曾说:我相信消费社会是文明的最后阶段。社会可以再继续一个世纪或者再继续,但我完全相信生活中的功利主义和大肆挥霍浪费预示着文明在消亡。我不是说人类将会灭亡,但我们正在看到文明走向消亡的恶果。



Search the Hearts of Purity

- Tradition and the avant-garde have never been contradictory to each other;
  all designs that are not based on life are sophistries


I am inspired by this month’s topic. It coincides with the direction of my research and design. Through organising and summarising the works I have done in the last two months, will be made into the main statement.

In the pre-proposal, I replied to the two topics of this exhibition: Theme 1. The Influence of Technology and the Interest in Materiality,Theme 2. Carnivalesque/Body, Form and Identity. I am going to further elaborate on Theme 3. Redefining Consumption, Fashion and Local Identity.

Theme 3. Redefining Consumption, Fashion and Local Identity
                Equivalent Exchange - Energy Conservation

Main Body

As a designer, especially in a time like the present –150 years since the industrialisation and modernisation, are there more critical tasks we should undertake than constantly “designing” new products? For instance, reflecting on our actions. Reflect upon development, innovation, and the speed of construction; reflect on integrity, mentality, and the stability of the constructions. In the context of the contemporary industry, making designs of garments, we question whether the fashion industry the only highway out? Are designs made based on the four seasons of nature inferior to ground oneself on the fashion trend in six months time? The four seasons are cyclical, like the wheels moving forward, the rings grown on the trees, and even the planet would not stop spinning on its own and forward, the cycle that comes full circle provides space for development in human survivals. China nearly has had the most dynasties, and the thread of its civilisation has never ceased. Its ancient hieroglyphs developed for 5000 years until today, and still lives on in the 21st century with us. Moreover, we may still understand the ancients’ record on history and culture. The history of Chinese development has been carrying along in cycles through the rise and fall of the dynasties, in the Spring and Autumn, the Warring States, the separations and wars during the Five Dynasties and ten states, thus the Qin and Han dynasties, and then the height of the Tang and Song dynasties. Even though the emergence of modern science has brought tremendous convenience to people’s lives, and the differences between various cultures and nations have been pulled closer, however, “the individual”, this most important component of this world, has not had essential changes in the last thousands of years. People still work in the daytime, and rest after sunset, consuming three meals daily, nor have we stopped sleeping regularly, so we could maintain the various basic bodily functions. All of which are “repetitive”, such repetition brings energy, which can also be converted into energy.

Film still from Rivers and Tides.

The role of the designer has not had a history. It was born in Western societies after industrialisation. If we count its beginning from the second industrial revolution, it has only been 150 years until now. During this 150 years, people’s respect towards the work of the craftsman have faded slowly, and began to idolise the high productivity of the big machines, thus the “designers” are educated to pair up with the production of the big machines. People’s lives in the entire world have been completely improved in order to operate this system. The education on design was also emerging. In the first 100 years, education on design originated in the West would still extrapolate resources from its own national tradition and culture. Unfortunately, the traceable civilisation of the most industrialised nations in the west has not been long and wide.

In the last 50 years, western designers and artists turned to the East to look for new nutrients. The most westernised nation, Japan and the once colonised state, India were their first stops. However, Eastern culture that was not part of their ancestral memories could not be well absorbed and digested, and their bottom-up linear view of evolution prevent them from stopping on the path to “innovation”, they are afraid of being eliminated. In such circumstances, they have finally decided to abandon the content in design and turns to innovate in the aim of design, such that the designers and the educators in design may continue forward, towards “newer goals”. Then, people have slowly forgotten to ponder on the meaning of the goals.

If we are only looking at the last 70 years of development in fashion design (since the end of WWII), its height peaked during the 1980s to 1990s, then, good works became rare after 2000. It is precisely because design had given up on content after 2000. Looking back at China, the only nation that has kept its original language, is not in any shortage of content. Thus, once we recognise that design is an approach to modernisation, then, if designers from any long historical background fear being immersed by the ubiquity of information, they should look at the culture, history, tradition of the place they are born, which can be tremendous help to them. Consumption that is being administered and promoted to the fullest in the contemporary society is unrelated to value. As a designer or a creative individual, rather than a business person, it is rather critical to recognise this.

The Czech surrealist artist, master of animation frames Jan Svankmajer once said, “I think consumer society is the last phase of civilisation. Society may carry on for another century, maybe even longer, yet I completely believe that the utilitarianism and lashing out money and being wasteful suggest the extinction of civilisation. I am claiming that humanity will extinct, but we are witnessing the malicious outcome as civilisation falls.”

In this case, have design and its related industries arrived at a time that would demand people to make profound reflections?

When you tighten your fist, the water and sand in your hand would quickly fall out; as you let your hand loose, would they be firmly held – that are the origin of our lives.

Tradition and modern are never a set in opposition. Modern design ontology could be somehow at the sensation of sophistry without being established on real mankind life experience.

Text - Dooling Jiang

Translation - Hooh Cheung

©2012 Digest Design Workshop & Dooling Jiang All Rights Reserved.