Like thousands and thousands of different creatives, Karen Van Godtsenhoven not solely envisioned a unique lifestyle throughout the pandemic, she created one.
After becoming a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork’s Costume Institute as Affiliate Curator in Could 2019, she has since reconfigured her position there. Whereas anticipating a child in mid-2020, Van Godtsenhoven returned to Europe, anticipating that COVID-19 journey restrictions would stop her household and her husband’s household from visiting the US after their daughter’s beginning. son of her
Initially working remotely for The Met, she and museum officers later agreed to an impartial curator association. Having labored on the not too long ago launched Kimono Model: Edo Traditions to Fashionable Design, Van Godtsenhoven is collaborating on one other Met venture scheduled for subsequent yr that she wasn’t at liberty to debate now. The Costume Institute exhibit is scheduled for fall 2023, she mentioned.
She can also be engaged on a Ph.D. on style and feminists, particularly regarding feminist principle from the 1960s and 1970s and bringing that along with style principle and style designers. The curator herself additionally teaches at Ghent College, the place she is organizing a course in style principle and historical past. Though Belgium is known for its design college, there aren’t any extra historic or theoretical style programs thus far. “It is nonetheless a brand new discipline right here, so there’s plenty of pleasure among the many college students.”
Moreover, Van Godtsenhoven participates in several exhibition initiatives in Europe that focus primarily on themes resembling ladies designers, sustainability and digital style which is a hybrid of digital and bodily style. Referring to the latter, she is keen to see the place that leads not just for the world of museums however for the business as a complete.
After coming back from maternity depart following the beginning of her daughter in July 2020, she realized that returning to New York for The Met could be logistically tough. “It was actually cool the way in which The Met supplied a method to keep lively as a freelancer and fewer institutionalized,” Van Godtsenhoven mentioned.
Concerning the present state of style, he mentioned he hoped the pandemic could be “an enormous wake-up name and a catalyst for change.” However she has been a bit upset by how shortly style has returned to her calendar and the previous methods of doing issues. That mentioned, by way of her educating, she is inspired by how new generations are embracing new and hybrid methods of working.
“They’re very unfold out. They do not fly around the globe to see reveals and see one another. The way in which new college students and younger designers work will information us ahead for years to come back,” mentioned Van Godtsenhoven.
Having noticed how different younger moms are additionally inclined to purchase second-hand or classic garments, she mentioned that youthful customers, like a few of her cousins, like to purchase garments quick on-line, “as a result of it is easy and low-cost.” Whereas that form of industrial consumption will proceed to thrive, she is curious concerning the evolution of recent applied sciences, resembling on-demand ordering, 3D printing, or avatar creation, even when they might be wearing digital quick style.
Antwerp-based American designer Shayli Harrison is a favourite. Her firm Mutani creates for manufacturers that need digital style in addition to their very own digital or digital style. The graduate of the Royal Academy of Superb Arts in Antwerp additionally works with collectives of younger designers. “It is fascinating as a result of it is very disruptive and experimental,” Van Godtsenhoven mentioned.
One other up-and-coming firm is Rebirth Clothes, which focuses on gender-nonconforming clothes and accessories that concentrate on “non-binary, trans, disabled, and loopy queers of all sizes and ages,” in accordance with their website. Along with the creativity that the model is incorporating, Van Godtsenhoven is concerned about how know-how and medical science can work together for brand new creations.
As for the influence of the unstable financial system on style, Van Godtsenhoven identified how European customers are anxious concerning the substantial improve in power costs and the struggle in Ukraine. These elements are making them much less experimental and extra conservative.
When requested what most people isn’t prepared for when it comes to how style is altering, he mentioned: “Trend all the time makes positive there’s sufficient of a market. However should you do not like on-line purchasing or digital actuality forms of environments, in 5 to 10 years it may turn out to be tougher to go to a retailer. That method of purchasing may change. It may create an enormous chasm between people who find themselves extra digitally literate and those that usually are not.”
Total, although, she’s joyful together with her profession regardless of the challenges introduced on by the pandemic, particularly as a brand new mother. “Working freelance for various establishments provides me plenty of freedom and enriches my life. I am additionally very pleased with how issues labored out with The Met. It’s key for employers to be inventive and consider methods to maintain individuals on board in several methods.”
Requested if anybody had taken over his earlier place or duties, a Met spokesman declined to touch upon Wednesday.