Schueller de Waal Collaborative Cleaning Initiative Haute Couture AW2019/2020 text by Runzhou Sun

Dear Shaded Viewers,

The performance of the Dutch fashion design duo unfolded on a public square in front of the town-hall of the 15th arrondissement in Paris. Litter was sprinkled on the ground. As we were wondering if the show was well-prepared, the models, each of them carrying a garbage bag and a trash picker, came out like the future warriors.  then it became clear that the designers’ intention was actually a cleaning initiative, fusing the designer’s emancipatory approach and spirit of revolt to contemporary Haute Couture fashion.

As a matter of fact, this performance was a collaboration between Schueller de Waal and Parisien NGO (PikPik Environment, Green Bird Paris). All the clothes are inspired by the one-size-fits-all and multifunctional cleaning uniform. This is an encounter between Diogenes and Bourdieu in the world of fashion. The garments were made from leftover fabrics. In addition the designers transformed some “middle class” materials into a post-industrial luxury. The symbolic meaning of “rolling up your sleeves” to work was integrated into the look and feel of the collection. The show was a hybrid theory. Even the cast was a mix-up of fashion professionals and environmental volunteers.

We were also impressed by the air brushed purple and and floral jacquard drawn by magic markers on the uniform, which gave the sculptural silhouette a nonchalant attitude. The green flower-shaped headwear, water blue shirts and the tulip motif are in tune with nature such as a breeze from the beautiful new world. The fashion design duo Philipp Schueller and Rens de Waal consider fashion as a therapy. The show healed not only the environmental problems, but also our mentality. Sustainability is the punchline and it is not just a slogan or a marketing strategy.