Iris Kareoja


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In her collection, Kareoja approaches the design process through curation and meditation of existing imagery, rather than through initial novelty.


– I see clothes as readymades, subjected to endless reproduction resulting in the loss of their original context, Kareoja explains.


Kareoja’s collection investigates the power which lies in the (re)production of images, and the way the act relates to social reality as well as expressions of power and taste. This includes making observations about the role of a designer as a mediator of culture and meaning. Her work heavily builds on the notion of an artwork as a shared, shapeshifting entity with evolving meanings.


– This is the concept I wish to translate into my collection.


Inspired by Hans Eijkelboom’s street photography, Kareoja observes fashion as a means of social distinction as well as a means of seeking group belonging. The line-up consists of inconsistent, yet familiar sartorial references with various connotations.


– I wanted to study perception through the use of print: to what extent can you strip something of its functional properties while still generating graspable visualizations, Kareoja asks.


Kareoja claims that fashion designers often create sartorial reproductions of some sorts, carried out by referencing and appropriating existing imagery and signs. For her, research for the collection had to do with cultivating introspection around the design practice. She wanted to explore why and how the specific visual elements are selected, and what could be the semiotic and experiential reasonings behind the choices. For Kareoja, this perspective problematized the concept of intuitive design choices.


– I thought about how creative processes are often described as “intuitive”, and what it really means. As I have gotten further in my process, the felt sense of intuitive decision-making has become something undeniable yet hard to describe. I have had to prove some of my initial hypotheses wrong, as I have not been able to dismantle these processes through a semiotic framework alone.


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Iris Kareoja





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