C3 PROJECT DIVERSITY: a collaboration with Bella Gonshorovitz and Forza Fashion House
Photo’s by: sem shayne

Last week I was part of the social design project C3:Diversity. A project in which the visions of Forza Fashion House Maastricht, Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts & Design, London College of Fashionand 6 different designers connected, collaborated and created. I was invited to work with a London based designer for 1,5 day on the theme of diversity.

I was pared up with Bella Gonshorovitz, a MA Fashion Psychology and very talented made-to-measure designer We already met on Skype, previous to the actual meeting in Maastricht. We talked about the project, the 1.5 day we had to work on the project, and the feeling that we wanted to avoid ‘a project runway gone wrong’. So we prepared. When we met in Maastricht on Sunday evening, after a long delayed trip for Bella, I think it’s fair to say we already felt a good vibe. But you could feel the vibe in the whole group. How nice and dynamic to be with all these designers with different backgrounds, experiences and stories. Right from the beginning there was this energy of creation.
The next day we had an extensive introduction and everyone told a bit about themselves and the road that took us where we are now. The team of six designers were completed by Maarten van Mulken, Victoria Sophie Keller, Michelle Muirhead and Carmen Ludwig. But many more were involved: the organizers of Fashionclash/Forza Fashion House Janne Baetsen, Branko Popovic and Nawie Kuiper. The head of department of the Maastricht Academy Marcel van Kan, who provided us with the space to work and Carolyn Mair and Hayley Morgan (sub director Psychology and graduate MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion) from London College of Fashion.
After the introduction we went for coffee and Bella and I sat down. Or actually I sat down and she stood at the table, took out a pattern and started to tell me about her client. Immediately I loved listening to the story of this person, watching the patterns pieces just made for this specific person and imagining this person wearing it. I instinctively thought of a fabric that would pare up with this person’s character. We decided then and there we were going to create a garment, without any preconceived idea about what it should look like. Only that it would be different pattern pieces of different clients, in fabrics from my collections.
As you can imagine we never intended to create a piece for someone specific. We wanted it to become a piece that different body types could wear. The process continued, Bella telling me about another client. Me taking notes and thinking of a fabric. We both placed and decided where this piece would go. In this process I found the magic of us working together. Normally you wouldn’t always agree with another person, or even listen to their idea. Especially designers. We always want to do it ‘our way’. But in our collaboration it was such an organic process. Without being more or less than the other, without trying to prove oneself, without judgment. And isn’t it this way of working which gives the most interesting and fulfilling result? And following up on that question, is the result important? Is the result a by-product and is the process just as important?
We worked all night and the next morning to be able to present this piece to an audience. Both a bit nervous, but also curious to see the ideas of the other design couples. We were in such a cocoon that whole process we didn’t see what the others were creating.
Time flew by these past two days. And inspirational days it were.
The start of collaborating, the exchange of ideas. I think we were all enriched!

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