Who? Dennis Sanders
What? Neo.Fashion.: Graduate Shows and Awards
Where? Berlin Fashion Week
Why designs by Dennis Sanders matter?
Social inequalities become equal in a fashion statement by Dennis Sanders. “Open Borders” is a collection merging the identity of two opposing social groups: the decadent fashion of the wealthy and the clothing necessity of the homeless.
“Art is essentially a culture dreaming”, writes visual artist Erik ReeL in his new book, Pterodactyl Cries: Art, Abstraction, and Apocalypse. ReeL’s book exposes a philosophical look at the improvisational and referential aspects of art. Sanders’ “Open Borders” envisions a socio-cultural aesthetic space where the two worlds can become one, using both abstract and representation in his composition. He believes that the approach can lead to philosophical conversations around fashion consumed in abundance and fashion consumed for shelter, as he states, “it becomes clear that this approach can lead to important results for our socio-cultural understanding, when we devote ourselves to the philosophical and conceptual consideration of the topic”.
In his dream-like space, Sanders analyzes the paradoxical connection and differences of the two groups and begins to break down the meaning of his work, “the reconstruction of individual body images, the introspection, as well as the representation of the problems related to decadence, form the basic aesthetics of this work.” He notes that one group, the homeless, is studied, whereas the wealthy are more critically analyzed. Why? And why does it matter? It is his process in merging the two groups as one. Remember, this is art, it’s conceptual, and should not be explained, however, it is his attempt in telling a story, giving the viewer or wearer a basis for conversation on this subject. The bringing together of these juxtaposed worlds is the common construct of “Open Borders”. He says, “the polarity between life on the street and the decadence of the wealthy is reflected in the implementation of the collection”.
We can further break this down by his composition, use of materials, and technique. In his words, Sanders describes the design of “Open Borders” – merging the society of wealth, consuming abundance, and the society of homeless, needing shelter:
“On the one hand, high-quality, manual craft techniques are used, which are often found in the haute couture sector. On the other hand, this style is deliberately broken through the use of technical materials, which serve to protect the body from cold and wet. The contrast created by this break also illustrates the multifaceted craftsmanship in fashion and sets a clear example in the age of “fast fashion”. “Open Borders” takes up the diversity that can be seen on the streets of this world and creates access to numerous ethnicities and sizes. The decisive merging of opposing characteristics strengthens the diversity of our society and encourages a search for the beautiful, where one might not expect it.”
“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. Fashion, like any other art, serves as a platform to express, evoke emotion, and, in “Open Borders”, make a statement of social inequalities, as represented through the identity of the wearer, that can become equal. Sanders’ body of work matters because it unfolds fashion in a deeper social context, to be viewed and worn, sparking conversation of the subject and object.
Feature image: BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 08: A model walks the runway wearing Dennis Sanders from Hochschule Hannover during the Neo.Fashion. Best Graduates Show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin September 2021 at Kraftwerk Mitte on September 08, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by PR/Stefan Knauer/Getty Images for Nowadays)