On Painted Series

With Painted Series, Saskia van Drimmelen and Margreet Sweerts create new ways of (re)connecting to fashion and clothes.
Intuition, joy, care, awareness and reciprocity are guiding values in their work -- expressing the hands of all people involved in the process of letting
 the clothes come-into-being.
As designers, they facilitate making clothes grow– an open process of becoming – together with masters of old techniques and if possible the wearer.
By creating an open invitation for other people to join and participate in collective community practices of making, they bring back the human touch and give room to new, affective relationships between makers, clothes and wearers. They explore and revive the multiple layers, stories, symbols and rituals of rare crafts.

Painted Series originally started from a desire to develop alternative ways of making and presenting fashion and clothes, relating to each other as human beings, and new ways of respectfully reconnecting to the cycle and rhythm of nature. Not as a nostalgic way to return to a romantic ideal, but as new ways of moving into the future, transforming the current fashion system,that dictates an inhumane pace of production and consumption.

In our era of  throw-away consumer culture and mass-produced identical clothes, with economic growth as an industry-wide driving force, exploiting garment workers and nature – Saskia van Drimmelen and Margreet Sweerts felt the need to engage with fashion differently.

They felt the urgency to give clothes a soul, a new life through collective processes of making, the desire to reclaim the values that have been lost or commercialized, and to contribute to a more human way of engaging with fashion. This requires alternative work forms and practices of making and presenting clothes – moving beyond the dominant idea of the ‘star designer’, beyond selling seasonal collections to consumers, beyond imposing top-down strategies for sustainability.

In her projects and practices, Painted Series facilitates a new movement of collective making, repairing, and caring for clothes.
A new culture of reconnecting to clothing as an expression of genuine beauty –including the beauty of imperfection – instead of commodified, idealized beauty.
A culture where we re-appreciate the actual value of time and labor. 
A culture where clothes are not consumerist ‘end products’ but rather open-ended forms of becoming.
In doing so, Painted Series also continuously explores, rediscovers and re-imagines the ways in which fashion relates to emotions, the physical human body, togetherness, and wellbeing – redefining the meaning and values of clothes within a community. The garments made by (and with) Painted Series are not timeless, they rather become-with the rhythm of nature. 
These clothes invite the wearer to give time, offer attention, and to take care for them, to listen to them - what would they say if you give them a voice?

March 2021, dr. Daniëlle Bruggeman
Professor of Fashion ArtEZ University of the Arts,