Fashion design as a place for critical reflection

Beckmans artistic research and staff, fashion

What does critical thinking mean at a design college, where the emphasis is on design activity? Within the framework of the third project in artistic research from Beckmans College of Design, a digital anthology is now being launched that connects theory and practice in higher fashion education and thus joins a current international discussion on critical fashion practice.

"As a teacher of theoretical fashion subjects at a design college, I am at the intersection of theory and practice. I feel that the reflective and critical aspect of fashion design is strangely underrepresented in academic fashion studies, where the designer has a central role but rarely a voice, but also in the fashion industry, where the role of the designer has historically been defined based on economic and consumerist aspects," says Maria Ben Saad, who is behind the anthology and is senior lecturer in fashion theoretic subjects at Beckmans College of Design and responsible for the Department of Artistic and Contextual Studies.

Essays, conversations, and visual commentary  

Critical Fashion: Reflections in Theory and Practice anthology consists of personal essays, commentary and conversations. Most of the participants have a connection to Beckmans as alumni, lecturers or guest teachers, while many also work at design colleges and institutions abroad.

"With the project, I have wanted to discuss fashion design as a place for critical reflection, and what it can mean for both theory and practice. Not least, the study revolves around the concept of critical fashion practice,which in recent years has spread internationally within academia. But I have also wanted to show, through examples primarily from former Beckmans students, how critical thinking can manifest itself in practice," says Maria Ben Saad.

In parallel with different approaches to the subject in text, visual applications based on nonconforming gender expressions are therefore also presented in mainly students' degree projects. 

Digital publication

To include as many people as possible, the project will be made available online and in English with publications twice a week from 23 October 2020 on

The project's publication was developed by Peter Ström and Mattias Jakobsson at the graphic design studio Konst &teknik. Peter Ström is also a senior lecturer in visual communication with a focus on digital media at Beckmans.

Contributor and publication date

Maria Ben Saad 201023 (introduction)
Adam Geczy and Vicki Karamina's 201027
Ada Swärd 201030
Ann-Sofie Back and Göran Sundberg 201103
Matilda Ivarsson 201106
Andreas Nobel 201110
Alexander Krantz 201113
Mathilda Tham 201117
Emil Balesic 201120
Peter Jakobsson 201124
Alecsander Rothschild 201127
Marco Pecorari 201201
Josef Forselius 201204
Caroline Evans and Susanna Strömquist 201208

Artistic research at Beckmans  

In 2017, Beckmans College of Design launched an investment in artistic research. Four different research projects have now been carried out that are linked to our areas of education product design, fashion and visual communication. The projects will be presented in different formats in 2020 at the same time as new research projects are initiated.

Works of Essence

Works of Essence

Subscribe to our newsletter