Top 10: Li Edelkoort on “The Emancipation of Everything”

©Collage / Julia Zierer

“Emancipate!” That was Berlin’s credo on Monday as Li Edelkoort held her first seminar in Germany and gave a multimedia presentation on future trends in design, marketing, and retail for spring/summer 2017. Her most powerful tool in the process? Intuition. “I don’t understand why. It doesn’t necessarily makes real sense. But I still share it. IT WANTS. I feel it”, she mentions as a casual example. She’s speaking about the much-maligned Khaki as a future romantic color.

Whoever has already had the pleasure of experiencing on of this charismatic lady’s talks already knows: delivering a concise overview of her vision, audio-visual presentation, and fully integrated appearance is just about impossible. Li answers questions with replies that are so complex and yet, at the same time, so banal that they don’t even cross your mind—until you realize that they’ve been on the tip of your tongue and weighing heavily on you mind.

Derived from her five-hour seminar on next year’s summer season, the following 10-step guide should not be understood as a set of instructions to reach fashion nirvana, but rather as a pep talk and a support. To not be afraid. To take things into our own hands. To emancipate ourselves. (And hopefully not just in the context of our wardrobes).

1. It Will Be…White!

Considering current affairs, the call for peace will become ever more central. We are seeking integrity, mindfulness, and spirituality on the way to a future driven by an integrated sense of hope. Perhaps white will become the new black.  

2. Back to (Real) Basics

The original idea of simple, well-designed clothing has been taken over in recent years by the idea of quantity and interchangeable mainstream retail chains. The trend, however, is going in the direction of high-quality minimalism—not just purely in terms of style—produced from local resources.

3. City, Country…or Both?

The borders between city and country living are blurring more and more. Many elements that—until now—only had a symbolic meaning in the city are little by little becoming essential items. That goes for fashion, too.

4. Work It!

Physical labor is becoming rarer and is establishing itself as something quite desirable. Elements of functional clothing will last in fashion for a long time to come.

5. (Not So) Casual Friday, Everyday

Denim has been a phenomenon for decades, one that cuts through cultural layers and age groups and can be found in countless forms and washes in every wardrobe. One, however, is

revealed: the heyday of indigo blue fibers has just begun.

6. The Real Birth of the Amazons

We are slowly turning into a matriarchal society, one in which women are becoming ever stronger. And, also embody it. Inside and out. This doesn’t match with masculine or gender-neutral elements—quite the contrary: femininity and the elements it translates into fashion will be celebrated!

7. Age Is Only a Number

Ever increasing life expectancies mean repeated restarts—in all areas of life. Generations are being redefined. Older people can keep up with those younger than them, and vice versa. Pointedly interpreted, granny style and kid’s fashion are going word-for-word, hand in hand.

8. Material Without Limits

In a fashion context, liberation is not to be put on a level with bare skin. It’s the materials that we actually wear that long for freedom. The result? Open seams, free-floating fibers and textures that breathe a sigh of relief.

9. Folklore—Yes Really!

The conscious use of traditional elements, even when horrible working conditions still rule in their actual production, is frequently discussed. Folklore is an encouragement here to go deep when grappling with the topic of tradition. Style—in its truest sense.

10. “Handmade Has Made It”

We find ourselves in the middle of a society which, after digitalization, strives for handmade objects and elements. Nevertheless, the individual trades must first emancipate themselves. This will be visible on our clothes in a combination of many techniques.

The name Li Edelkoort is a polarizing one. After the pioneer of trend research pronounced “fashion is dead” last year at Design Indaba in Cape Town, she ostensibly reaped opposition and outrage alongside a few digital voices nodding in agreement. It might be reasonably assumed that many disregarded the real message behind this somewhat banal sounding quote as it went viral. Fashion, as a system removed from society, is dangerous and sentenced to failure—that was the message hidden behind the Anti Fashion Manifesto. Radical changes need to be undertaken. Until then, clothing complements the concept of fashion, or that is to say, equates to it.

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Translation: Melissa Frost