A lecture on our research methods for ‘Decolonizing Fashion’

Artistic research

One of our designers, Linda Valkeman is lecturer at iArts, Maastricht and has developed the course Decolonizing Fashion together with Nina Willems.

The course looks at fashion from various perspectives and histories. In order for the students to get a better understanding on research methods, Linda invited me prepare one lecture on how I set up Textiel Factorij.

In order to give you an idea about our research methods, I am sharing hereunder our core values, ethics and working methods. If you would like to learn more or would like to have input, do not hesitate to contact us!

Knowledge exchange based on reciprocity

TF is a vehicle, through which designers, artists and artisans collaborate with each other on a grassroots level. By understanding each other’s needs, requirements, working methods, cultures you learn from each other and exchange knowledge. Together you take time and have the attention to experiment, try, fail, understand and create.

Space of experiment and play

The collaboration between designers and artisans leads to new insights and methods. Both work on an equal level and are involved in the creative thinking and making processes. This creates space for experiment and play. They understand about each other’s culture and gain insight into local customs. Moreover, they learn about each other’s history and heritage, meaning of the local visual language, patterns, motifs and techniques.
Designers learn the possibilities and impossibilities of the techniques, whereas artisans learn to look at their techniques from a fresh angle, creating tension in the interaction.

Through knowledge exchange based on reciprocity, interchange of perceptions and making processes, something unique evolves.

‘Textiel Factorij showcases that through cross-cultural exchange, art, experimentation, and different thought processes new ideas, designs and concepts emerge, enriching all involved.’

Responses from students

Students were also critical about the collaboration.

They questioned how we can safeguard an equal collaboration. How do we address issues related to intellectual property rights. Also many craft techniques are disspearing, and it seems that in order to ‘save’ these crafts is by making luxury products for western markets. It was a fruitful discussion on major issues which needs much more further thinking.