fresh thinking

Design Fabric Festival

Ritika Arya, 27th April 2018
Design Fabric Festival

A brilliantly executed three-day festival, DFF had something to take away for everyone!

There was a lot to absorb, so here are a few who truly left an impression.

Starting with a poster-making workshop, where I experienced flow, to The Happy Film by Stefan Sagmeister(a must watch for every designer), day one was the most creatively active experience.

Adam J. Kurtz should be the opening speaker, every time. Brimming with energy and a brilliantly crafted presentation, he was filled with humorous inspiration. His talk was relatable and brutally honest as he discussed the internal demons each one of us faces in the creative industry. He set the perfect mood for the day to come and was a unanimous favourite. There was Katie Rodgers who took us through her journey from childhood to professional illustrator, charming us with every slide and asked us to focus on our personal work.

There was a host of fashion industry professionals who talked about their work, sustainable fashion and the showstopper, the unabashed Scott Schuman, better known as The Sartorialist. It was insightful and interesting to get a peek into an industry I didn't know much about - right from looms to ethical practices.

In the midst of all the madness was a short and highly memorable performance by Mumbai's Astik Brass Band. They got the crowd tapping their feet to Despacito and Piyatu and were met with a much-deserved standing ovation.

Day three started with the creative minds behind the identity of the festival itself, the gorgeous customised visual introduction to each speaker, the music and event branding. Followed by the lovely St+art (please follow them for those of you who don't), who were simply wow - the work they're doing, crumbling social biases as they move along, left every one with goose bumps. In a country where the caste system is so prevalent, they've had the vision and heart to dig deep, understand and break those pre-conceived notions in the minds of (almost) every community they work with.

Mitch Paone of DIA, a New York-based design agency specializing in kinetic identity systems, gave a fascinating talk about how his love for jazz and the piano meet in the form of dancing words and motion graphics. It reminded me of the Type Radio talk at KDY, years ago (if anyone remembers). Berlin's Color And The Kids (CATK) studio MaikBluhm and Sebastian Gerbert shared their journey as designers. ”In design, there are always rules and asking the question why one thing is connected to another. But for us, it's important to ask why not, bring down the rules and define new rules for what we're creating. We're trying to navigate the space between real and computer-generated images,” said Maik.

Rob Alderson, WeTransfer, talked about the curation process behind the brilliant pieces of art we see on their website every day. Hey Studio, Barcelona, taught us the importance of teamwork and always doing side projects. The most awaited speaker ChristophNiemann (the reason that made me sign up) lived up to the expectations and so much more. The audience lapped up every single word he uttered, holding their breath for the next slide. He shed light on the unsexy creative process, the need for input to be able to have creative output and the importance of sleep, amongst a host of other priceless wisdom. He truly ended the festival with a bang.

All in all, it was a creatively therapeutic and soul filling weekend, rejuvenating the mind that most often gets jaded in this hustle-crazed world.

Credits - My words above have been interspersed with the descriptive writing from


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