“SYS-OFF”: A Look at designs by Jan Hartmann

Who?  Jan Hartmann

What?  Neo.Fashion.:  Graduate Shows and Awards

Where?  Berlin Fashion Week

Why designs by Jan Hartmann matter?

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 07: A model walks the runway during the "Neo.Fashion. Graduate Show 7“ of HS Pforzheim at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin September 2021 at Alte Muenze on September 7, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Robert Schlesinger/Getty Images for Neo.Fashion.)
Jan Hartmann, designer | Neo.Fashion. Graduate Show, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin September 2021 at Alte Muenze on September 7, 2021 in Berlin, Germany | Photo by Robert Schlesinger/Getty Images for Neo.Fashion.

The structure of civilization and humans have been around for thousands of year, providing social, political, economic, and institutional systems of order.  Designer, Jan Hartmann looks at the institution of the family system and how it functions with determined roles, order, and security.  Hartmann believes that humans live their life acting independently, free of choice of their actions, but says that they don’t realize that their actions are “determined more by the ‘systems’ than they are aware of or would like”.  “The family is one of the oldest functional systems and within this there are clear structures, functions, and roles”, he says.  The traditional role of wife and mother in the family structure was the decisive factor in his collection, “SYS-OFF”.

Jan Hartmann, designer | Neo.Fashion.21, 7.9.2021, Hochschule Pforzheim, Alte Münze, Berlin
Jan Hartmann, designer | Neo.Fashion.21, 7.9.2021, Hochschule Pforzheim, Alte Münze, Berlin

The aesthetic inspiration of the collection comes from a woman’s role in the 1950s as mother, wife, and homemaker – the family system of order with duties confined to the home.  Through the use of stereotypical pink tones, Hartmann dramatized the female (propagandized) role in conflict to other aspirations in life.  His collection uses contrasting materials, patterns, silhouettes, apron-like layering with a distressed, frayed, unfinished, and quite unsettling beauty.  The civilized role for women in the family system inspired a body of work that generates conversation and even strikes a nerve about the times of the 50’s.  Hartmann says, “through irritation, disruption, dissolution or ironic exaggeration of traditional images, the collection shows the supposed “cliché” of housewife”.

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 07: A model walks the runway during the "Neo.Fashion. Graduate Show 7“ of HS Pforzheim at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin September 2021 at Alte Muenze on September 7, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Robert Schlesinger/Getty Images for Neo.Fashion.)
Jan Hartmann, designer | Neo.Fashion. Graduate Show, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin September 2021 at Alte Muenze on September 7, 2021 in Berlin, Germany | Photo by Robert Schlesinger/Getty Images for Neo.Fashion.

“A Look at EDGE” curates a select few of Neo.Fashion.21 designers whose collections make socially relevant statements and offer storytelling through a fashion lens we don’t often see.  Hartmann’s message is clear and vibrant, taking us to an imaginative artistic state.  Times have changed for women since the 1950’s, and today we live in changed – and one may argue, even stranger – times.  Are the current times for women documented through the lens of fashion, other than the frivolous frenzy of it?  The vanguards are producing work that they can stand behind, timeless looks and narratives.

Photo Credits:

Feature Photo: Jan Hartmann, designer | Neo.Fashion. 21, photo: Simon Cornils, Illure Management

Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor