Online Exhibition / introspection /
therapy session 01
crafting comfort

How do you create a wearable safe space?

On November 8th 2020, State of Fashion kicked off the Therapy Sessions, a new series of workshops. For this edition we invited fashion designer Berend Brus and performer Giovanni Brand. In response to the challenging times we are living in, they invited participants to take part in a virtual embroidery circle, to discuss the role of fashion in dark times whilst simultaneously working on your ‘wearable safe space’.

This Therapy Session is inspired by ‘For Dear Life’, the ongoing project of Berend Brus:

“For Dear Life is about the dark corners of your consciousness. Your brain wants to return to these thoughts during moments of mental health weakness."

"It's about perseverance and starting over after being victorious. To choose life over the paralysis of despondency. A combination of hanging on for dear life and a love letter to life, dear life."

We live in a time with endless insecurities and negative stimuli. How do you deal with insecurities? How can you use fashion as a tool to create a safe space that you can carry with you? How can you find a moment of peace?


Research has shown that when you’re working with your hands your brain is active in a different mode. In the words of psychologist Emma Kenny:

"The repetitive, rhythmic motions of stitching create a state of contentment and focus. It actually alters brain chemistry."

"Levels of stress hormone cortisol get lower when we are focused on a creative task.” The concept of focus is really important because it keeps the mind engaged on a task and less likely to be distracted by negative thought processes that fuel anxious or depressed minds. By remaining engaged, the mind cannot spiral."

Fashion- and costume designer Berend Brus finds his inspiration in people who create their own reality. His motivation for his label is his urge to talk about sociatal issues. It often starts with a question of disbelieve about a subject, for I Haven't started yet it was 'why should we continue this way?' and from the answer 'because previous generations said so' grew a collection questioning the norms that were set. Even though his work touches upon serious subjects, he wants to use his work as a dialogue starter with a light note. Brus' sees his work as a celebration of freedom, individuality and expression. Let's celebrate our differences and find each other in similarities.

Giovanni Brand is a Rotterdam based performer, writer, director and singer. His work always starts from the attempt to create something out of my most intimate stories. Therefore he feels very rooted in my own work. He feels the urge to work without boundaries because he believes life does not have boundaries either. In his work there is no line between private and public. Making performances is a drift for him and during the presentation he tries to put those drifts against the world. Unheard against heard, small against immense. His work has an invisible dark side, a presence that lies underneath the visible light and accessible side of it.

Portrait via Marta Marsial