Praxis and Strategic Craftivism


Sarah Corbett of Craftiest Collective visited Parsons to present her ideas on craft and gentle protest, and how activists need to get past the “tantrum” of reaction to become more strategic (and “slow” as in thoughtful) in the way they execute their work. Giving examples of “pretty protests” (getting out of the black hoodies and into the flower-patterned dresses) and identifying allies outside of the affected groups help build wider alliances and longer lasting momentum.

Craft activism and critical making often missies the strategic perspective; how to add political leverage towards systemic intervention and change (move beyond the “tactics” of resistance) and who to utilize non-violence to build affinities and turn skeptics into allies. In this way the very slowness and introspection that craft embodies can open room for dialogue and reflection. Craftivists have a lot to learn on how to better leverage non-violence and proactionary work from icons such as Gandhi and MLK.

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Critical Praxis: Commemorating Lost Selves

There are all these unfulfilled selves out there – dressed selves who were just awaiting to emerge – selves who already had their garments ready for the occasion; the occasion that never came. What happened to that self? Why did it not have a place in your life? What held back the emergence of that facett of your self?

Do not despair. Now these interrupted selves have their own monuments, they are no longer denied a place in the annals of history. We can mourn the loss of all those potential beings we could have been. What a loss.

A memorial to the wearer of that crisp white shirt. A tomb to the unpainted nails. A mausoleum to the unused hoodie. “Selves known only unto God.”


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Oct 23: Monuments to Smothered Selves

What is a way to commemorate the interrupted lives of all the dressed selves we could have been? What garments/accessories do we have in our wardrobes which we don’t feel comfortable wearing, but which we once perfectly thought we could be. These things which somehow proved to be just a bit too much, or not for our current peers and context, or just simply “not me?”

Now, what happened to that potential self? Why was it not allowed to come out, to blossom, to fully grow into a mature new self?
We will build small monuments of commemoration, a grave to the unknown self who was sacrificed in the no-mans-land of lost aspirations.

When: Monday October 23rd, 18.00
Where: Parsons Making Center, 2 West 13th Street
Bring: A garment/accessory which is not worn, for some reason – and some cardboard for monument building!
& feel free to fill in a Commemoration Form for your monument – MoSS commemoration form

MoSS 3sm

Suggested Monument to the Unused Perfume

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Critical Praxis: Mutant Fears

Fashion fears for Halloween became the theme of our workshop – staring from an introductory exquisite corpse test which led us to discuss our everyday fears of wardrobe malfunctions and judgments. What fears and anxieties are hidden under that style of yours?


From there we started remaking garments to become our everyday fears; exposure, sickness, being made a fool, and the continuous horror references from torture movies. Garments of ridicule, of cancer, of rejection and dresses crying tears of tar and feathers.




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Oct 9: Souling and Sewing – Making Halloween

What about reclaiming Halloween as a DIY practice and not a fast-fashion generic theatrical celebration of waste-making? Following the lead of Frau Fiber’s Halloween Costume Manifesto, the makers in the FashionPraxis group will lead a DIY halloween costume workshop where we can discuss and digest our fears and anxieties of social stigmatization and exclusion. In the tradition of “souling,” we will also serve cake.

When: Monday October 9th, 18.00.
Where: Parsons Making Center, 2nd floor, 2 West 13th Street.

Materials: Bring some left over fabrics and some garments that could become (temporary?) canvas for your halloween embellishment.


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Sept 25: Critical Fashion Praxis #1

This term the Fashion Praxis Lab will arrange a series of reading & making events on the theme of Critical Fashion Praxis, that is, applying some of the thinking in Critical Making to fashion design. We will meet Mondays at 6pm to discuss and together try out new critical practices in fashion – we will see what that can be!

First meeting!

When: Monday September 25th. 6-8pm.
Where: at Parsons, Room U514 in the University Center.

Reading introduction will be sections of Garnet Hertz (ed) “Conversations in Critical Making” – find it here:Hertz-Conversations_in_Critical_Making-ext

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Animal Laborans – Fashion and Labor

Our book Animal Laborans is finished! The result from our book sprint in May 2016 is now ready-to-read. As usual, it is a mongrel assembly of thoughts and ideas, mixed and matched by all of our contributors, and with – hand-made – illustrations.

Enjoy the PDF : AnimalLaborans-w

also available as print-on-demand at Amazon.



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