Catrine Val
The female wisdom

Asphyxia. Pioneers of the Heart


Asphyxia. Pioneers of the Heart, 2019
in collaboration the University of Bedfordshire, Schools of Art & Design, UK

explores the image of young promising fashion designers in the context of modern British society where they are trying to fulfil social requirements while complying to cultural and religious dogmas.

What kind of world do we want? This is a fundamental question that most of us are asking. Does it make sense to participate in the existing world order? Privilege is invisible to those who have it. We want a world where life is preserved and the quality of life is enriched for everybody, not only for the privileged.

Only few junctions away from the London’s big labelled Fashion spotlights, a  beautiful cocoon as Fashion Department  -the University of Bedfordshire- welcomes all those, who are often excluded from institutional life and provides a powerful  escort for their dreams and visions. A starting point of inner peace  and pushing the  creative reinforcement of all different students possibilities into their individual creation into  world citizen, who is not only concerned with their outer shell.

This diversity can only flourish due to the wide range of thoughts and skills of Janet Emmanuel, Beverley Bothwell, Cathrin Pritchard and all the other team members.

For weeks, I accompanied these  young aspiring  fashion Design with my camera on their way to their  final fashion design degree show. These students come from all of over the world. Each of them has migration background inspiring the oldest democracy of the world. Great Britain .

What they all have in common, that they are the first  generation of woman in their family, who are allowed to study. Each of them opens up a surprising powerful, different story.

Fashion is deceptive. It is a “player” that pretends to rip the duration away from our modern fast moving times and to be indispensable for a timeless period. As long as you are on their level, there is a strong feeling of being contemporary. Fashion can communicate our differences to the world for us.

Unfortunately, we do not have a straight unbiased vie on our corporeal selves. For various reason, historical and emotional our body roper is believed to be incomplete – a body minus clothes. There is a balance between expectations and its own Identity-  women live in an constant balancing act between the expectations of their environment, religion and their own. Fashion can communicate our differences to the world for us .Women should be free to choose. A woman who wraps herself in a fashionable veil she comes out in an often islamophobia society as a Muslim, whether she actually stick on to their own values or the woman to feel free. In this perspective, religious rights are human rights.

Garments have the power to become our expressions of our very unique identities. And we should express ourselves, wear what we want. Being different is beautiful and authentic . We are all different from different perspectives. The reciprocal independence of body and clothes has continuously furnished new conflicts, the reconciliation of which constitutes the peculiar aesthetics of dress. The intensity of the sense of shame varies not only historically.

The time is now to stand up, to stand out.  Where sameness is safeness, with something as simple as what we wear, we can draw every eye to ourselves to say that there are differences in this world, and there always will be. Fashion can give us a language for dissent. It can give us courage. All this knowledge what I learn from these students: energy, talent and technology and passionately, in creating an almost perfect world. Fashion can let us literally wear our courage on our sleeves. Wear it because it matters. And wear it because you m