Focus On: Cultural influences in design

What is the relationship between culture and design? Valerie Steele, Chris de Beer, Massoud Hassani, Carla Fernandez explore this question.

Valerie Steele on cultural influences in fashion design


Valerie Steele has a PhD from Yale University and is director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York.

Fashion is like a giant hoover that sucks up all kinds of interesting looks from all over the world ... mixes them together, and is frequently accused therefore of stealing ideas and ripping out all of the authenticity and then just spewing it forth as part of this great fashion machine, says Steele.

Watch her full talk here

Massoud Hassani on designing from Afghan influence

Massoud Hassani’s Afghan heritage has a significant influence on his designs, from a kitchenware range to a wind-powered device that clears landmines.

Watch his full talk here. 

Carla Fernandez on working with heritage to make a fashion statement

Fashion designer Carla Fernandez works with different communities in her native Mexico to design garments that speak to Mexican heritage and identity.

The next generation already have the design skills to continue these uniquely Mexican techniques, as it is passed down from generation to generation. The important thing rather, is to find ways to monetise it to ensure its continued existence, says Fernandez.

Watch another talk by Fernandez here. 

Chris de Beer on designing jewellery with a cultural inspiration 

Durban designer Chris de Beer is interested in designing jewellery that reflects the culturally rich aspects of Zulu heritage. Here the award-winning jewellery designer speaks about his jewellery-making processes.

Watch his full talk here.  

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