Design Miami/ the global forum for design, this year awarded Carla Fernandez and Pedro Reyes with the Visionary Award and set the tone for a 14th edition stronger than ever. The Visionary Award is given to creatives that made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of design.
Reyes is a contemporary artist and Fernandez has been more prolific in the world fashion, dedicating her time to the preservation of artisanal craftsmanship. Their collaboration with Design Miami/ 2018 has synthesized a large spectrum of influences into a substantial body of work.
The dialogue between art and fashion this year has been one of the most powerfully engaging and rewarding that I have experienced. Even the President of RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), one of the partners of the exhibition, found this edition “the strongest showcase since inception. Works like Katie Stout’s female lamps at R & Company and Design Visionary winner Carla Fernandez’s meticulously crafted garments characterize a shifting perspective at the show, which affirms that new voices are not only creating beautiful objects, but demonstrating how design increasingly integrates political and social perspectives.”
The Plaza installation, called Unite, in representation of solidarity in a world where political divide has aggravated geographical division and caused the impending humanitarian crisis that involved Latin American immigrants and their children.
The cart in the plaza that contained Fernandez’ fashion capsule, represented a cohesive piece of conversation from Unite: all proceeds from the sales of the artifacts were donated to assist indigenous populations of Mexico and Immigrant Families Together, the organization that assists families separated at the US border.
The booth and installation in the foyer of the fair included Disarm, musical instruments fabricated from destroyed firearms, and Fernandez’ textile works.
The graphic identity of the exhibition (I am a loyal collector of the bags and posters) was inspired by the symbolic graphics of the May 1968 Paris uprising that, from a worldwide cultural movement, it molded the social identity of a generation.
I have always been a believer of fashion as a form of art, the first form of communication, one’s individual unspoken language that also reflects the moment’s social and political changes. I may have shrunken the history of fashion, sociology and anthropology, my college degree and master in one sentence and I am not proud of it, but I have felt particularly attracted and personally engaged in the discourse.
“The exhibition offers us the chance to present […] pieces where design has a social dimension, either by addressing social justice, as well as the importance of handcrafted products in a world where […] most processes are automated and millions of people are losing their jobs.” Reyes + Ferndandez
The powerful use of creativity and social sensibility that Reyes and Fernandez infuse in the production of art and fashion breathes action and the desire of social change into two industries that are generally considered lucrative and superficial.
The emergent theme of the 14th edition of Design Miami/ has been collaboration, in terms of materials and textures, in terms of artists and galleries or Maisons like the Shape of Water by Sabine Marcelis for FENDI, between patrons/collectors and galleries. And the results were astonishing.
Practice with Purpose was the topic of the Visionary Talk that elaborated on the collaboration in practice and life of the couple recipient of this year’s award that brought architecture, design, fashion and art together in a discourse rooted in consciousness for social justice and respect for craftsmanship.