About Webshop Collections

Barbara I Gongini


Year after year, fashion trends change, and lead to a continuous adjustment of what is considered popular. However, a lot of fashion trends tend to come back and, with the rise of fast fashion, millennials and the intellectual audience are starting to deem the whole idea of trends as out of style. As summer approaches, this seems to be the year of the avant-garde.


Those who show an interest in style and have come to regard fashion as an intellectual effort have also developed an awareness of the environmental and social issues that surround the industry. Trends have turned into subtle ways of showcasing your personality, without having to renew your outfits every season. In this editorial, we will discuss this year’s predictions in what is considered fashionably relevant and see what’s sticking around for 2018 and from now on.


How Trends Manifest in Avant-Garde Fashion


Based on a forward-thinking mentality, avant-garde fashion pushes new and unconventional designs and encourages risk-taking, experimental creativity and the rejection of the mainstream. This approach allowed avant-garde designers to confer a specific tone which is unlike anything else in the fashion world. Those familiar with the current have come to understand it as a lifestyle and a unique way to express oneself.


Avant-gardism, by definition, rejects the notion of trends, conventions and anything that involves a lack of originality. This is why fashion designers often avoid what is considered culturally popular and surprise with designs that are not only meant to last but also express who you are. For more information on avant-garde fashion and its roots, you can read our entire Avant Garde Guide.


Factors that influence avant garde fashion trends

There are several factors that influence the way trends and style evolve.

Fashion draws heavily from social and environmental surroundings. It also is based on each designer's values and understanding of the elements that spark creativity.



What consumers look for in a brand is directly related to the values that make it unique and appealing.


For avant-garde brands, the most prominent feature is the anti-consumerism drive that sets them apart from other commercial fashion brands.

Values are deeply rooted in the way craftmanship is approached. It was the avant-gardist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said that “Less is more” and the concept has become a cornerstone for avant-gardist designers ever since. Simplicity is another value that comes to mind when discussing fashion avant-gardism.

The aim is to produce simple pieces that feature subtle intricacies. What seems to be a simple piece of clothing can feature a variety of designs which you can style according to your creativity.


Political & Social Environments

Politics can have a significant impact in the fashion and creative world and thus can be of major influence in what is currently relevant. The artists’ need to create freely means that the political climate contributes directly to their work.


Similarly, the social environment, society norms, and pressures can shape the creative process. For example, a highly environmentally conscious society will put emphasis on how garments are manufactured. Sustainability is a major topic of discussion amongst fashion retailers and avant-gardists are the first to line up and take a stand. New ways of crafting garments have pushed forward the techniques and the materials used.


Direct Influences

The direct influences that affect the designer in crafting his pieces are the result of their personal preferences, experience, and study.

Many avant-garde fashion designers are influenced by the old school Japanese aesthetic philosophies.

Other significant influences are background, education and artistic drive.


In Barbara I Gongini's case, the avant garde fashion influences come from the vastness of the Faroe Islands, which trigger the large space design she practices. Using heritage as a personal influence, she is able to conjure unique canvases of creation that speak to the singularity of her work.


Non Trends in Fashion: How Avant-Garde Breaks Stereotypes

Breaking stereotypes involves a level of risk taking that is only specific to avant-garde designers.


The only way to constantly create evergreen trends is by focusing on what really matters and trying unconventional approaches.

Here are some of the creative movements that are here to stay and how they influence the current state of avant-garde fashion.


1. Fashion that’s Dedicated to a Sustainable Approach

Another instance where the avant-garde fashion movement refuses regular conventions is the focus on a sustainable and responsible way of producing garments.


A number of avant-garde designers are limiting their impact on the environment and actively promoting sustainability through their process of procuring and using materials. While large, mainstream brands focus exclusively on profit by using what some would consider unethical ways of conducting business (sweatshops, cheap labor and materials), avant-gardism promotes responsibility in every step of the production process. Having a low impact on the environment is an important part of BARBARA I GONGINI’s brand DNA. Not only in the way the items are made (dying, processing, manufacturing), but also in the designs and their longevity.


2. Multiways & Evergreen Designs

The avant-garde concept of styling a piece in several ways is rooted in the movement’s ideal to provide simple but useful garments.

Unlike commercial fashion outlets, BARBARA I GONGINI cleverly designs its pieces to give the wearer the possibility to style them in several ways and for a longer period of time.

This approach is called “multiway design” and supports the idea of clothing longevity and evergreen products that can serve you longer.  

The freedom of expression and versatility of multiway clothing design and evergreen products also serves as a crucial point in the sustainability initiatives.  


3. Evergreen Colors

The use of monochromatic or two-tone colorways in avant-garde clothing has maintained its value for a long time now.

Black is the dominant color and its power sits in the versatility that it allows. Noncolors such as black and white are not only easy to match, but also emphasize simplicity and a state of mind in tune with the values of the current avant-garde movement. Moreover, the use of noncolors creates room for a variety of possibilities for multi-way garments, which can be creatively modified into several other pieces to mix and match.


4. Fashion that Respects Social and Ethical Concerns

Another fundamental concern of avant-garde brands is the value of the human condition.

Human equality is crucial in emphasizing the strength of the individual, regardless of sex, background, social status or sexual orientation.

True creativity comes from freedom of self-expression and, to be able to do this, all working parties must feel comfortable and involved in the crafting process.

The BARBARA I GONGINI designs are a blend of ideas, influences, and beliefs that shape the very essence of the brand.


5. Genderfluid Clothing

Many avant-garde pieces appeal to a broad audience regardless of their sexual identity, because most of them are crafted to be gender fluid.

The brand strives for extreme versatility, a concept opposed to the mainstream idea that genders have fashion restrictions.

You may express yourself in any natural form you desire without having to think about following the rules.

Again, this versatility is a direct opposition to the conventionalism of mainstream brands who are gender oriented. By offering the wearer more possibilities you enhance his style experience and give options.


6. Non age-specific clothing

Versatility is noticeable through the fact that most avant-garde clothes don’t have an age requirement.

They can be worn by anybody, as long as the wearer is able to identify with and feel comfortable in them. Avant-garde fashion is addressed to an intellectual audience which does not have a specific age. Older and middle-aged, style sensitive people can wear the same garments as young ones and vice versa. Utility and freedom of expression are the goals and those are independent of age.


7. Fashion that Upcycles and Recycles

The initiative to use recycled fabric as part of an eco-friendly approach to doing business also shows concern about offering a more sustainable product. 

We strive to work with suppliers which respect the EU legislation standards, and source a range of materials approved by Oeko-Tex®. These are tested for harmful substances, for both health and environmental reasons.


Furthermore, the undistributed stock is upcycled and given new forms in order to create multifunctional pieces that are better than their precedents. Constant evolution from the same essence.



 Behind the scenes of The Weather Diaries, the traveling exhibition by BARBARA I GONGINI


BARBARA I GONGINI’s Take on Avant-Garde Trends

BARBARA I GONGINI doesn’t regard itself as a trend-driven brand, so it tries to distance itself from what is seen as fashionable and cool.


The conceptual approach of BARBARA I GONGINI Collections presents a different take on crafting garments.

Faithful to the core of avant-gardism, designers try to break stereotypes with non-trends - ways of creating that contradict contemporary currents. This can consist of several approaches starting from the concept behind a piece, to the details on garments up to the way that materials and textiles are produced.


By isolating and singling out new ways of crafting, the pieces become works of art in themselves and cannot be framed in a category. Unlike many traditional fashion designers, BARBARA I GONGINI has its own construction process that instills the avant-garde essence from start to finish. Everything from materials, design, and production is created with the purpose of utility.


Products don’t just “go out of fashion”, they are meant to last for a long period of time and to be used in multiple ways. In this spirit, the core of the BARBARA I GONGINI collections is centered on individualism, freedom of self-expression and not on normative pressures and contemporary trends.  


Our Creative Process in Designing Fashion at BARBARA I GONGINI

The craftsmanship starts out with a 360° view of what the final product will be and how it will be of use to the wearer.


Expression and personality are two of the central elements in conceptualizing each piece. Pieces often include geometric cuts, asymmetric fabrics and spectacular silhouettes that are focused on versatility and utility. Traditional tailoring plays a major part in the creative process.


Avant Garde Spring/Summer 2018

Barbara I Gongini’s most recent designs combine the various elements of her conceptual method in a collection that blurs the lines between traditional tailoring and urban street wear.


The multiways approach is incorporated through details such as visible stitching and zips, unexpected strings and openings, which grant the wearer the possibility of exploring the garment in multiple ways.


Featuring asymmetric cuts in deconstructed and recomposed hand-drawn prints, as well as pure white parachute fabric, the collection includes a variety of textured fabrics.

From crinkled viscose in grey shades, to cold dyed jersey and washed sheep leather, the dark look of the 2018 Spring/Summer collection is sustained by a unique approach to textile crafting. The newly added seamless lingerie line interplays dense and delicate surfaces in figure-hugging pieces, while the echoes of older designs reverberate through reinvented garments, in a statement of eco-conscious commitment from the creator.


What is Officially Out of Style in Avant-Garde

One thing that is definitely out of fashion in the avant-garde world is the idea of trends.


This cutting-edge movement works outside the logic of the seasonal fashion market, which seeks to create a hype every half-year by focusing on a particular set of characteristics. Avant-gardism rejects trends and value judgments based on popularity, so anything that is tied to the mainstream current will be of little interest to the avant-garde fashion wearer.


While some designers will continue to try to break into the mainstream, the essence of avant-garde will always be distant and indifferent to popular opinion. Any garments that are the result of past influences, such as 80s revival trends, do not belong in the cutting-edge, forward-looking fashion realm.


Constant improvement is the goal, so what clings to the past will no longer be relevant to an audience looking to experiment the contemporary. This doesn’t mean that avant-garde disregards the past, but rather that it is constantly anchored in and mirroring the present.


ImageMichael Maximillian Hermansen