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7 January 2017

Last year I made a resolution to “connect with my christian heritage” meaning: be open to the spiritual context that I was officially born into.

I have probably had more New Age influences from my near surroundings than christian ones and my experiences have been mostly very positive. However it made me convinced that any spiritual message can be misinterpreted. A very banal insight in a western culture where I indirectly had been encouraged to think of religion as oppressing and stupid.

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I guess that I was interested in the other similarities monotheist religions and neo-spiritual movements share. I wanted to find something in Christianity, the religion that was already there with its holy houses of peace and beauty, gatherings and music.

I totally failed my resolution. I didn’t make any effort to connect with christianity and I  I kept on searching for community, peace, faith etc. in the neo-spiritual world. And it works pretty well for me: through meditation I started seeing things more clear and with so much heart, at one point I felt invincible because I could love a piece of rock and through yoga I feel connected and welcome to any yoga studio anywhere in the world. So I guess Christianity couldn’t compete with New Age when it came to offering a community for me (but then me is me! Would I feel the same if I didn’t have money to spend on yoga and stuff?).

Effectively, my year and this text has nothing on Christianity as a community or movement. But having said my resolution out loud, I kept my eyes open for any connections between the old monotheist tradition and what I was longing for: community and comfort. I had thought about subcultures being sort of a modern replacement for the unifying force that religion can have. But I dream of something much more open and disconnected from my identity. I don’t want to keep a fellow human like Beyonce holy, I want to keep my own shoes holy, care for them until they can’t be fixed anymore. So religion seemed interesting.

By the end of the year I found something on the opposite end of the spectra that helped me understand why Christianity appealed to me. I found that the world I grew up in is characterised by its materialist belief system and is a reaction to the former christian dominance of Europe. Monotheism and Materialism, two complete opposites. It’s like the western drones bombing without sacrifice versus the Islamist suicide shooters. I was tired with the materialist values so I looked over to the other end of the room, stopped halfway and found peace in the middle? This is a space Bruce Lipton talks about in his book Spontaneous Evolution. A place where the spiritual and the materialist realm is emphasised equally. A place where objects have souls.


26 January 2017

Today I went to my first christian event, a student’s christian union organised sermon + Q&A about “life after death” at All Souls, Langham Place.

He : Do you believe in god? Do you believe in truth?

Me: I do believe but I think the words you have for god and in your bible are like art – invented expressions for beauty that can’t be intellectualised. I believe there is truth in love but it is not reserved for one story.

To me, faith is to know that you are not god yourself. Letting go.

Maybe art is created to help us bear our existence. As Erwin Wurm put it: In the end, art deals with the difficulty of dealing with life – be it by means of a philosophy or a nutritional diet.

Maybe we make art and stories to endure life and forget death. Gustaf Norén said once in his podcast Brännässlor, we see flowers and we instinctively want to pick them, we want to make art! And it’s kind of destructive…

It’s like taking photographs with your phone. I see something and I want to make art, I want to capture it, arrange it and share it. But what if my phone’s out of battery? Then there’s that little little moment of pain. Is it the pain of being mortal? I want to catch this moment in an eternal image, if I can’t then my life is less meaningful and if I’m not meaningful, my life has no point and I might as well die.

As clothing design becomes more accessible through affordable chains and style becomes more accessible through internet – fashion is more democratic today than ever before.
But at whose expense?

Isn’t a critical part of the global population more likely to produce that Céline-ripoff dress than wearing it? Items from the chains fashionable branches are made to satisfy an instant urge for expressing and experiencing a certain style that is found attractive at the moment. They aren’t really expected to last because we are used to fast paced fashion in a fast paced high-tech information age.

And the ideology on which our actions spring from is neoliberalism, right? An ideology (we tend to not talk about) where people are seen as consumers and their power lies in the act of buying and selling. When we buy cheap non-sustainable products we maintain an illusion that we are successful. Because consumption is the proof of wealth and ultimately happiness according to neoliberal ideology. 

To challenge this system that merits the already wealthy, betrays the poor and exploits our planet – we might need to accept that everyone can’t have everything. And that would include questioning the idea that democratic fashion is to enable a majority of the population to innovate their wardrobe every season.

I personally believe that’s the case however one thing that I believe has sincerely shifted the industry’s power towards the people, is the internet. Style has an undeniable correlation with cultural capital whether its high or low and never before has culture been as accessible as it is today. Let alone have fashion blogs and e-commerce played a big part; geography is much less of a factor today.

Of course acquiring copied versions of high fashion products is a way of manifesting the human capital of style. It would be oppressive almost to take away that right from us, the freedom of expression through style. Nonetheless we need to end consumerism in order to achieve equality and stop global warming.

To express style without consuming any products is easy, especially online, call it styling. Maybe the fact that stylists are more powerful than ever today is a sign that we are on the way to a more sustainable fashion industry. Remixing and recycling, appropriating and collaging what is already there.

So what’s the future of design??

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