MEAN Enterprises

MEAN Enterprises is a critical collective founded by Matilda Söderberg, Eleana Burrows, Julia Santilli and Daniel Clegg-Hughes, that looks to examine fashion as a mode of social production via collaborative practices. Fashion is a phenomenon that not only drives the global machinery of the garment industry, but one that engines the cultural field as a whole. Fashion as a mechanism is present within architecture, design, music, philosophy, art, etc. MEAN see fashion as the site which instills the global within the intimate, the universal within the personal, the world within the body. It transcends a diverse network of cultures, craft, identities, and industries, leaving an inescapable impact on both users, makers, and natural habitats. Viewing fashion as a commodifying function intrinsic in all parts of society, we address the networks and consequences of fashion within the age of the anthropocene.

Creating multi-disciplinary platforms that intersect art, design, writing and craft, MEAN is exploring methods to bring forward critical thought within material processes. Considering immanent techniques of garment making as tools that recognize the laborious context of material production, MEAN originate dialogues aided by these processes. MEAN forms hubs and think-tanks of makers, designers, researchers, artists, and academics. Within these micro-communities, MEAN create workshops, panel talks, and collaborative projects that produce outcomes in multimedia formats. The idea of the lone, genius maker inherited from an early twentieth-century philosophy of self-interest, disregards the cultural influences that induce creative work. In the twenty-first century, we need to find new ways for individuality to form within non-hierarchical democratic collectives, that are mutually beneficial and inclusive for all stakeholders.


The Exquisite Conflict

A one day workshop between the participants of MEAN, consisting of a chain of reactions aiming to stimulate a materialised dialogue between different forms of practices. As the participants initiated the workshop presenting a reaction to an individual topic of their choice, the following artifacts had to be produced as a response to these reactions. The responses were produced within one hour long sessions, and had to take a clear opinionated stance against the artifacts that they were reacting to. The aim was to encourage a dialogue of constructive criticisms between creative practitioners.

The World’s Worst Weed / The WWW (working title)

The World's Worst Weed is a sketch of a rhizomatic journal that germinates reactions to current affairs within the creative industries. The journal originates content on a response-based contribution scheme, which is intended to stimulate constructive conflicts between creative practitioners. The online resource allows for the facilitation of multimedia formats, which democratises accessible critical dialogue. A rhizomatic structure balances contributors horizontally, allowing for multiple interconnections with no dominating ideology. It projects a fair dialogue that prevents narrow thinking and eliminates a concentration of power. The platform is a fluid online publication dependent on content and conversation, driven by relevance as opposed to a rigid timed release.

OUTSKIRTS - The Educator: Gatekeeper or Enabler.

OUTSKIRTS is a group of designers and researchers specialised in the field of fashion as expanded practice. As part of the Fashion Education Conference September 2020, facilitated by American University of Paris, MEAN mindmapped the dialogue throughout the OUTSKIRTS-led workshop ‘Between Learning and Un-Learning - The Educator: Gatekeeper or Enabler’. The workshop aimed to unpack factors which inhibits the expansion of fashion as a critical field within the current paradigm of higher fashion education.