The world of digital fashion is growing explosively. Where are we right now? And which up-and-coming designers are worth watching?

As not to get left behind as digitalisation rapidly develops, FashionUnited has compiled a selection of terms and words that are imperative to understanding this vast new realm.

The short history of digital fashion.

On display from 4 March 2023 until 3 September 2023

Faster, better, more beautiful – the design of progress

Design, art, nature and technology blend into a single whirlwind experience at this grandly conceived family exhibition. Discover the fascination with speed, follow the hunt for the millisecond and experience the heyday of streamlined design.

In order to join a guild, a craftsman needed to submit a masterpiece. That was a specially made specimen of his skill, detailed in advance, that was judged to ascertain his qualifications. In nearly every German town, an aspiring cabinetmaker needed to make a drawing of the masterpiece he intended to submit, prior to being… View Article

A drawing can depict designed object so perfectly, that it is unlikely ever to have been realized as shown. For example, the designer can ignore the technical limitations of a particular material, or he can imagine a work of art on which various makers would need to work together so concertedly as to be practically… View Article

A draughtsman may combine two designs in a single drawing by depicting an object composed of two different halves. Such a drawing is manifestly a design: no object would ever be executed in that manner. A potential client was able to compare the two propositions and choose either of them. Moreover, this mode of presentation… View Article

A designer forms his first idea about an object through drawing. He makes a quick sketch which he can subsequently alter or improve, or amplify by adding another sketch. In this way he uses the drawing to create a design, first of all for himself. The drawing makes the first idea visible and serves as… View Article

Luigi Valadier (1726–1785) ran the foremost goldsmiths’ workshop in Rome for many years, and after his death it was continued by his son Giuseppe (1762–1839). An enormous amount of drawings from this workshop has been preserved. They are not just fine presentation drawings, of a kind known from other workshops as well, but also proper… View Article

While a beautiful object was being made, many drawings were produced. They varied from quick sketches to try out a shape or decorative motif, to full-scale model drawings for particular elements of the work in question. Once the object was completed, those drawings were normally discarded, as they had fulfilled their role. Happily, some examples… View Article

The order for a large and expensive work of art for a church, such as choirstalls or a pulpit, was a matter of serious concern. Next to a pope, a bishop or a vicar, a governing body of some kind was often involved as well. A contract was usually drawn up, in which the work… View Article

At the end of the nineteenth century there was great interest in the decorative arts. There was a wide-felt concern that as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the quality of functional and ornamental objects had deteriorated, both in terms of design and execution. Many young artists were keen to improve this situation. Rather than… View Article

An object’s venerable age could from an additional argument to have a drawings made of it. From the Renaissance onwards, artefacts from Greek and Roman antiquity were highly admired. Both artists and connoisseurs were keen to obtain images of them. Works of art made at later periods were also collected and studied, and drawings of… View Article

Once a fine object was made, it might be recorded in a drawing for a number of reasons. An owner could commission a drawn inventory of his possessions: this occurred most frequently for assemblages of works in silver and gold or other precious treasury pieces. Objects were also drawn as examples of new designs, fashions… View Article

From the fifteenth century onwards many engraved designs for the decorative arts have been produced. These prints were the principal medium for the dissemination of new kinds of objects, fashions, styles, models and decorative motifs. When a designer drew a design as a model to be engraved, he was faced with a different task from… View Article

Drawings were an important means of selling works of art and fine objects. They could represent a work of art that had been finished, or provide an image of what an object would look like when ordered. Drawings of objects were sent all over Europe, or brought along to annual fairs where dealers and agents… View Article

Nancy Bocken is professor of Sustainable Business at Maastricht University. For the Third Floor, she interprets the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and she shares tips on how both the government, sneaker brands and sneaker lovers can make more sustainable choices.

On display until — 26 February 2023

Artificial Awe

Frank Kolkman designs at the intersection of technology and the human body. The work Artificial Awe is an attempt to visualise sublime experiences and make them generally accessible using artificial intelligence.

On display until — 12 March 2023

A Digital Nature

The Young Design Team is proud to present A Digital Nature – DEMO at the Design Museum Den Bosch. The presentation shows a selection of animations themed around digital nature: wondrous underwater worlds, alien plants and dream landscapes with digital flowers. They are enticing images that also force you to think: have we entered an… View Article

Shoes made from sustainable materials such as apple leather, mushroom leather and recycled rubber are increasingly seen as an alternative to animal leather. What is the potential and what are the challenges?

On display until — 26 February 2023

Screenwear – Exploring Digital Fashion

Digital fashion has long since ceased to be science fiction. Fashion created from pixels instead of textiles is almost imperceptibly part of everyday life for many people. Slowly we are moving toward the metaverse: the future virtual world of the Internet in which our physical environment will merge with the digital one. Discover the newest generation of fashion designers and meet face to face with hyper-realistic digital models.

A reflection on Elisa van Joolen’s PORTAL 012 workshop, by writer Emma van Meyeren and photographer Nikola Lamburov.

In een wereld waar het draait om minimale marges tussen winst en verlies, delft het milieu vaak het onderspit. Fabrikanten denken vooral in winst, niet in verlies en al helemaal niet in verlies voor de planeet. Dat geldt ook voor de maker van je hypermoderne stampers.

Why are the CO2 emissions of sneaker production so high? And what can be done about it?

As part of the Sneakers Under Construction presentation, designer Elisa van Joolen has developed a new edition of PORTAL (2017 – present) together with the Young Design Team. In this unique masterclass edition of PORTAL you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the design and research practice of Elisa van Joolen. The intimate… View Article

Nike, Adidas and Puma, but also new brands are focusing on them: NFT sneakers, or virtual sneakers. Such a sneaker is a unique digital “non-fungible token” (NFT), a concept that is increasingly common in the art and fashion world. The digital shoe can be saved and later sold or worn by gamers in the metaverse… View Article

Titi Finlay is a London based content creator, sneakerhead and sneaker activist working. For the Third Floor she tries to answer the question: why can’t sneakers be gender neutral?

Edson and Gee look back on the development of Patta with anecdotes about a number of sneakers and shoes.

Some were banned, while others stir up very strong emotions, and then there are also lawsuits between makers and brands.

Designers Janntje and Toon talk about the exhibition design, details and challenges.

The sneaker industry is vast. It has grown exponentially over the last two decades and shows no sign of slowing down. In 2021, for example, about 1.2 billion sneakers were sold worldwide which is almost double the amount of sneakers sold in 2012.

Nowadays, sneaker culture is a global phenomenon, but it was born locally, even before the rise of the internet. The series Sole Origins takes you to the cities that have had a great impact on this.

On display until — 12 February 2023

Process – Design Drawings from the Rijksmuseum

This pioneering exhibition is an opportunity to discover a collection of extraordinary design drawings from the Rijksmuseum. The drawings, which date from the period 1500–1900, have been brought together for the first time and are arranged according to the successive stages of the design process.

In our sneaker dictionary you will find an overview of the most important, most used and sometimes just plain fun words.

Everyone can point out the sole of a sneaker, but what about the upper? Where is the mustache? And what do the eyelet and the aglet have in common? Find out in this sneaker anatomy.

Still the sneaker’s popularity remains undiminished, especially among young people. Worldwide subcultures keep adding specific models to their daily uniform.

In the 1990s, the sneaker gained a foothold in the Netherlands thanks to gabbers and bubbling, but a unique way of styling the sneaker also emerged in London.

When sneaker brands realized the popularity among young people, they tried to entice them by using musicians and athletes as role models.

Sneaker culture has become ubiquitous thanks largely to the influence of young people from diverse inner-city neighbourhoods. They have been instrumental in elevating sneakers from pure sportswear to sought-after icons of style.

11 June 2022 — 2 October 2022

The King of Posters: Engel Verkerke

Every youth room used to be full of them: the posters produced by Verkerke Reprodukties, the company of Poster King Engel Verkerke. Whether you picked Che Guevara, The Beatles, a horse on the beach or a naked woman, you could show exactly who you wanted to be and which group you wanted to belong to…. View Article

The sneaker industry is environmentally damaging, but there are many hopeful projects to address these problems.

Most sports shoes that we now consider groundbreaking arose from solving core design concerns, such as traction, fit, stability, cushioning and energy return can help to improve athletic performance.

In the 1990s major sports brands ventured outside their comfort zone, entering into exclusive partnerships with small retailers and progressive fashion designers.

Sneaker culture has become ubiquitous thanks largely to the influence of young people from diverse inner-city neighbourhoods. They have been instrumental in elevating sneakers from pure sportswear to sought-after icons of style.

Few objects are as universal or as diverse as the sneaker. Which is one reason why the sneaker has become the undisputed cultural symbol of our times, bridging culture, design, fashion, music and technology.

Afgerukte ledematen, ontbindende lijken en afstotelijke monsters. Net als in het posthumanisme staat in gothic het lichaam centraal. Toevallig? Volgens curator Tomas van den Heuvel niet.

From the exhibition: the Goth subculture experiments like no other with gender, sexuality and style, finding new meanings for old stereotypes through endless combinations.

From the exhibition: new technologies help to visualize the dark sense of life in constantly changing ways, although it is frequently the shortcomings of such technology – scratches on the film or fading of the photograph – that give a ‘Gothic feel’ to an image.

From the exhibition: the threatening, imper­so­nal and all-consuming metropolis shaped the Gothic imagination of this un­certain pe­riod. It is a form of the Gothic where fear of the future becomes entangled with the dread of the past.

From the exhibition: in the Gothic tradition, historyis exaggerated, twisted or straightforwardly invented. The past on which Goth is based is an intoxicating mixture of fantasy and reality.

From the exhibition: Goth eagerly pursues a sense of authenticity and is not afraid to evoke it artificially.

From the exhibition: The Goth tradition allows you to mix imagery, symbols and styles to your heart’s content. The result is an emphatic atmosphere, which stimulates the imagination and creates darkness. Goth isn’t a style in the traditional sense but a feeling.

From the exhibition: a sublime nature in this sense features prominently in the Gothic tradition, not only as a setting for elusive mysteries or unspeakable secrets, but also as a protagonist in its own right.

From the exposition: goth is a battleground for the great issues of identity, individual and community. Now, and already in the nineteenth century.

How come the goth subculture keeps popping up? Under what circumstances did this subculture arise, and what will goth look like in the future? This livestream answers all these questions and more.

Goth is widespread in our contemporary culture. How is this enchanting world formed? Why is goth so popular? How come almost every one of us recognizes something of ourselves through this dark and morbid aesthetic?

Design Museum Den Bosch sets out to highlight the cultural significance of design in the past, present and future. Since changing its name and direction in 2018, the former Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch has grown substantially, as reflected in an ambitious programme of exhibitions, national and international collaborations and rising visitor numbers. In the years ahead,… View Article

5 May 2022 — 16 October 2022

Sneakers Unboxed

The exhibition Sneakers Unboxed offers you a behind-the-scenes look at the footwear that triggered technological breakthroughs, inspired new youth cultures and turned the fashion world on its head.

18 October 2021 — 18 April 2022

GOTH – Designing Darkness

Goth is the world’s biggest subculture. A lifestyle steeped in an undefined yearning for the dark side of life. The exhibition GOTH – Designing Darkness looks for the wellspring of the Goth scene to present two centuries of a cultural history packed with dramatic imaginings, ominous design and melancholic art. In the heart of historic… View Article

Children of the Night - Nona Limmen
3 October 2021 — 14 January 2022

Lucio Fontana – The Conquest of Space

Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) was one of the 20th century’s most important avant-garde artists and continues to inspire artists, designers and architects to this day. He is best known for his iconic slashed paintings, but Fontana’s work goes much further than that. He was a sculptor by training, created spatial installations, collaborated with architects and designed… View Article

In what is also known as ‘the Inflatable Era’, inflatable architecture was manufactured as a prerequisite for a new, nomadic way of life. Space travel served as the inspiration for these capsules. However, are these high-tech hide-outs post-human or not?

“A little world in which the big one holds its tryouts”, is how guest curator and professor Bart Lootsma describes the development of Austrian avant-garde movements in the 20th century. In this lecture series, Lootsma places the so-called ‘Radical Austria’ of the 1960s in the context of the long Austrian tradition of art and design.

The need for radical change manifested itself in post-war Austria in a series of mega­lo­manic urban designs. These projects share an ob­ses­sion with technology and infrastructure and a drive to create completely new ways of living together.

Visiting the exhibition, you will receive the accom­pan­ying ca­ta­log. It documents both the technical information of all ex­hi­bi­ted works, as well as substantive texts to con­tex­tu­a­lize im­por­tant makers and themes. You can find the digital version here.

Curator and architectural historian Bart Lootsma shows you around the ex­hi­bition. He reflects on several key works by important Austrian designers active in the 60s and 70s.

Parallel to the exhibition, architectural­theory.eu presents a selection of films on and by the protagonists of the exhibition, made for and broadcasted by the ORF. The films are as radical as the people, ideas and work in the ex­hi­bi­tion. They provide a unique snapshot of Austrian culture in the 60s and 70s.

Can’t get enough of the wild 60s in Austria? Then listen to the podcast tips that we have put together for you here. From the actions of feminist icon Valie Export to Gernreich’s moni­kini, and from Wolf D. Prix’s revolutionary ideals to Wilhelm Reich’s unusual ideas about sexual liberation.

The oil crisis and environmental issues have led to an international reconsideration of the technological fascinations of the avant-gardes of the 1960s. Haus-Rucker-Co, in particular, reflects in very large installations on the con­se­quences of environmental pollution.

A series of experiments by Coop Himmelb(l)au investigates how human test sub­jects respond to intensive media experiences and how these reactions can be fed back to those media.

Haus-Rucker-Co works on the Mind Expanding Program from 1967 to 1971. The program aims to expand human consciousness and man-made environments on different levels.

Walter Pichler’s prototypes of furniture and appliances are perfectly executed and func­tio­nal. By emphasizing certain effects of the use of everyday objects, these prototypes show their cold and disorientating impact.

In the 1960s and 1970s, new media such as radio, telephone and TV changed the relationship between people and the environment. The impact on the human experience of the environment makes perception an important theme for many artists and designers during this period.

That cybernetics would radically influence the functioning of design, architecture and urban planning was understood in Austria at an early stage. Its consequences are speculated on in numerous projects.

In the 1960s, the body became the starting point for a radical rethinking of architecture, design, fashion and art. The boundaries between those disciplines increasingly disappeared.

Schöner Wohnen, or ‘the destruction of the habitable coffin’ is a film made by the architecture collective Salz der Erde in 1971, in which the ideal of the tasteful-bourgeois housing magazine of the same name is mercilessly undermined.

With his manifesto Alles ist Architektur Hans Hollein does away with the traditional de­fi­ni­tion of architecture: “Our efforts are focused on the environment as a whole and on all media that determine it. Both television, the artificial climate, transport, clothing, the telephone and the home.”

The performances of the Actionists in­crea­singly sparked scandals attracting at­ten­tion of both police and media. This culminated in 1968 in the happening Kunst und Revolution, ar­rang­ed by the artist Peter Weibel as part of student protests and taking place in a prominent lecture hall of Vienna University.

The designers and artists in the Austrian avant-garde were obsessed with theories of social change. Despite their manifestos often being very radical, they realised an impressive number of their projects.

Actionism is the unique Austrian brand of performance art. By means of choreographies with naked bodies, paint and blood, combined with loud music, they intoxicate the participants and the audience.

Posthuman; once your eyes are opened to it you see it everywhere. But what is it? In this recurring series, curator Fredric Baas explains. In the first column, Baas focuses on the chang­ing human body, something Austrian designers were already investigating in the 1960s.

From psychedelic inflatable buildings to shock­ing per­for­man­ces, from cultic cities to cy­ber­ne­tic fashion. Bart Lootsma and Jeroen Jun­te will guide you through the exhibition and talk to experts from this period in de­sign his­tory.

In this series of videos, contemporary designers respond to quotes from Victor Papanek to find out if his ideas are still relevant. Klaas and Maybe of the Academie voor Beeldvorming use art to tackle social issues and to change the image around them.

19 June 2021 — 19 September 2021

Design Prize 2021

Design Museum Den Bosch is proud to mark the Design Prize 2021 by presenting the work of three up-and-coming Brabant design talents. They have been selected by the winner of this year’s prize, Bart Hess.

In this series of videos, contemporary designers respond to quotes from Victor Papanek to find out if his ideas are still relevant. Petra and Simone from Social Label develop design together with top designers and people with a distance to the labor market.

Here you will find more in-depth information on the themes of our exhibitions

5 June 2021 — 5 September 2021

Meret Oppenheim: für dich – wider dich

Meret Oppenheim (1913–1985) was a Surrealist who didn’t want to be called a Surrealist. A feminist who didn’t like ‘women’s art’. World-renowned but agonized by her fame. This exhibition introduces you to Oppenheim and her playful and ironic work.

5 June 2021 — 13 June 2021

Benno Premsela – Warrior and Seducer

Design Museum Den Bosch is presenting Benno Premsela’s jewellery collection this spring under the title Warrior and Seducer. Benno Premsela (1920–1997) was a designer, interior decorator and leading figure in the post-war Dutch art world. He was also a prominent champion of LGBT rights in the Netherlands.

In this series of videos, contemporary designers respond to quotes from Victor Papanek to find out whether his ideas are still relevant. Tessa and Rolf from Minitopia create innovative, sustainable residential locations, in which there is plenty of room for solidarity and togetherness.

The last part of the exhibition “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design” shows how contemporary designers relate to the themes of Papanek. Here you will find the exhibition text.

In the second part of the exhibition “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design” you get to know Papanek better. Here you will find the exhibition text.

Papanek inspired many generations of designers. The third part of the exhibition “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design” shows their work on the theme of ‘minorities’. Here you will find the exhibition text.

The first part of the exhibition ‘Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design’ shows the influences and creative interactions in the life and work of Papanek. Here you will find the exhibition text.

The exhibition ‘Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design’ starts with a short introduction about Victor Papanek and his ideas. Here you will find the exhibition text.

Alison J. Clark, the exhibition’s co-curator, shows a beautiful silk scarf printed with a motif intended to confuse facial recognition software. It’s the designer’s way of criticizing how governments and corporations are using this technology.

Papanek called on designers to design for disabled people and to involve them in the design process. He also argued that designers need to be aware of the cultural context of their work. Annemiek van Boeijen designed a sports wheelchair and works in the field of ‘Culture Sensitive Design’ .

Most people don’t have to think twice about using a public toilet. But for transgender people it’s a different story. Discover the history behind the design of public restrooms and find out how the future of the inclusive toilet might look.