This is from my own perspective on Expressionism and Fashion Design. It lacks heavy notation and besides cursory study lacks depth. This is more to explore the design as a concept.
I first noticed the term “Expressionism” being thrown around about old German movies such as “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “Metropolis”. It leads me to believe that a large part of expressionism had roots in struggling to communicate emotions properly with words, especially across multiple languages. This is in part why I think that Europeans in particular love this style, they struggle being able to communicate how they are feeling across multiple languages.
Expressionism presents the world solely from a subjective perspective- warping the world and the clothes around what they are looking at to reflect their emotions radically. The idea is to communicate the emotion effectively to others who are viewing the image. There is an anti-realism aspect to expressionism, where the emotions and how they affect the author’s views superimpose onto reality.
From a philosophical stand point, it gets deeper than this. It borrows heavily from the idea that you must strip away all other voices and all other peering in images of our culture to start with the designers one and only voice. Rhetoric, costumes and clichés stand in the way of the individual’s expressive voice, and must be torn away to rebuild their designs honestly. This causes things to be extremely exaggerated- if the designer wants the model to seem tall, her designs are made to make the model seem very tall. If the model is meant to seem sad, the design is meant to exaggerate the sorrow.
This free form of designing has been coined as “ignoring the audience”. Ignoring the audience releases the student from being self-conscious and to dodge social norms. This is just the first step of approaching expressionism. Once they are comfortable expressing themselves they can then have a dialogue and learn how echo out conceptual designs from themselves for peer review.
I regard Seattle’s Designer line Bansky to use a style that’s inline with this description. A presentation wanting to express itself emotionally, and hating the lies and the forced conforming of society.