As Designers Recognize What Kind of Changes Need to be Made, Communication Is Shifting to Welcome New Born Ideas
By Mark Wittmer
Spring is always a season of new life and rebirth, but it almost goes without saying that this season is different. It has been just over a year since the global pandemic sent us into lockdown, and with a cautious hope we are beginning to return to a world that in many ways feels normal, but also must be radically different.
Recognizing the historical and emotional importance of this moment, a handful of designers and creatives used the opportunity to share works that reflected and responded to this hopeful ideal of collective rebirth.
These poetic works are not a document of lockdown or vaccine procedures, nor a superficial statement that nature is healing. Instead, they challenge us through nuanced and artful imagery to consider our own emotional journeys up to this moment, and to imagine what the best way forward could be.
Motoguo’s delightfully strange Spring 2021 campaign imagined an eclectic group of survivors celebrating the end (or beginning?) of the world. The intriguing contrast between the collection’s joyful, almost goofy prints and ballooning silhouettes, and the setting’s crumbling stone and rusted metal, seems to point to a cautious optimism – a new world of freedom rising from the bones of the old. Joyful and strange, brilliant in concept and beautiful in execution, the campaign is a timely meditation on the mutual joy of destruction and creation.
Is this an apocalypse, or the birth of a new world? Motoguo has shown us that they may just be one and the same.
Due to the interrelated, extended structure of their campaigns, SIR. was able to create a subtly narrative-focused campaign that explored themes of conflict and rebirth. Each campaign from SIR. has formed an abstractly continuous storyline. The first was a creation story, retelling the genesis myth with an emphasis on the creative power of woman. From there, our heroines have stepped out into the world and forward into history, but things have always seemed rather utopian. The Spring 2021 campaign hit a lot of the same notes we’ve come to expect from the young Australian label, but introduced new elements and directions as well, both conceptually and aesthetically. In the narrative of this newest campaign for Spring 2021, we can see a hint of conflict, progress, and modernity.
Meanwhile, Iris van Herpen looked beyond the present toward a desolately beautiful future. Expanding on the idea of symbiosis suggested by van Herpen’s exquisite fungi-inspired designs, the creative team created a stunning homage to the productive and restorative power of the natural world. Both the imagery itself and its collaborative production point to an inspiring coexistence of nature and technology. Iris van Herpen is one of the industry’s leaders on sustainability (to say nothing of the aesthetic excellence of her designs).
The editorial beautifully captures that ecological consciousness, guiding us out of a world of nature ravaged by technology, and toward one of symbiotic harmony.
In addition to the more obvious celebration of a post-lockdown return to life and to nature, we can see in this theme of rebirth a subtle yet urgent note of environmentalism. If climate crisis isn’t already on everyone’s mind, it should be. Unless our current cycle can be broken, there will probably be only a few more generations of human beings. As the shock of the lockdown has us reconsidering our approach to life, the world, and each other, we hope that we can recognize what kind of changes need to be made. It will be nothing short of rebirth.
Fashion might not be able to save the world – but isn’t it beautiful to try?