Street Fashion

Dirk Imschoot

A while ago Mr Johan Valcke, a famous Flemish defender of design, asked me to give a conference about ‘street fashion’ in Helsinki. I accepted the offer and started thinking about this issue. When I received the synopsis – which was one page long - from the Design Museum, I found the word ‘business’ six times. This made me decide to adapt my lecture.

Business, mostly equated with money and profits, has two sides. On the negative side, profits are often short-term. The business world takes over existing ideas and mostly makes profits at someone else’s expense. But the business world on the other side can also create opportunities to make things happen which otherwise wouldn’t – in return for profit, naturally – and in both the short and long term. Those corporations make it possible to produce, distribute and show design. I see them as “givers”.

For me, design stands for designers, designer groups, artists and all creative people in the broadest possible way. They may also work in areas like music, fashion, the arts, applied arts, film, architecture, or video… These are all “askers”.

History is an important aspect for museums. They try to save design for future generations and are mostly open-minded, often contrary to the business world whose primary concern remains profit. Museums also provide an opportunity for the general public to see a part of design and to display accepted tendencies. An important key for their input is time and distance. But the negative side of museums is that they always consist of a closed space. The real world is outside. Besides, people and designers don’t want to be put in a box. They to me are “placers”.

This is, of course, a black-and-white vision. The reality is a lot greyer. Artists can also be businessmen or even museum people. Businessmen can also be artists, and in their job they too have to be creative in many ways. Thus everything can be a mix of everything, like life itself. Everybody can be an asker, a giver or even a placer. Contemporary life is a mixture of everything; everybody can be supplementary or complementary. We have to accept that.

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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