Sure, an important role of many designers is to keep their finger on the pulse of their respective industry. To research and trend-spot and forecast, noting which fabrics, colors and silhouettes are rising to the foreground – and alternatively – which might be fading quickly before next season’s threads hit the mass market. But what happens when a designer notices a larger trend? A trend that goes beyond patterns and prints – a trend that shapes the very way society lives and thinks and acts?
Easy. They take a cue from 26-year-old Ukranian designer Masha Reva, and they create a statement-making collection that questions the status quo on every level. I’ve profiled Masha before for her eye-opening collection on how we each hide behind the Internet, and this time, she’s tackling another heavy-hitting issue: our relationship with nature.
The collection – a line of sweatshirts featuring juxtaposed images of botanical gardens and Photoshop layers – seeks to explore our immersion in the rapid pace of contemporary life while yearning for our natural environment. It’s a pace where, sadly, gadgets are replacing gardens and social networks are replacing Sunday night suppers. Tweets no longer represent early morning bird ballads, and instead, are pinging reminders of an ever-connected world in which we’re ever-so-disconnected.
A lovely New York Times article explored this concept recently, the idea that we’re alone-but-not-but-are. Writes Jonathan Safran Foer: “We often use technology to save time, but increasingly, it either takes the saved time along with it, or makes the saved time less present, intimate and rich. I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the further it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or — being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology” — but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.”
I’m still seeking that balance. My weekends and evenings are now work-free and Internet-free, with the exception of those emergency situations when I simply must find out where I can get an order of fried pickles within a ten mile radius. (I know.) But I’ve found something interesting – the less screens I’m surrounded with, the more I’m captivated by the natural. Warm summer breezes and babbling brooks and thunderous rainstorms. A fresh bunch of lilac. A baby’s laughter.
My favorite design from Masha’s collection is above, featuring a loading status bar in the midst of a Photoshop transformation. Because it’s so true to life, isn’t it? We’re all on the spectrum of our own personal status bar – seeking a transformation from A to B. From fast to slow or good to great or depressed to joyful.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter if we ever get to B with our status bar fully loaded as we’ve transformed into a new layer of ourselves. It simply matters that we’re on our way.
Image Credits: Masha Reva