SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011


[email protected]




(212) 592-2228

Why Now? – SVA MA Design Research

Anja Laubscher

Why Now?

Now. A contradiction within itself. As I am typing this I am conscious of the fact that I am constantly moving through the now, with each letter being typed never quick enough to catch it and always too slow to enjoy it. This paradox between the ghostlike quality and the actuality of the ‘now’ (the fact that it exists as a word but lacks substance) combined with the pressure placed on the word in all areas of life, for example: “I will be there now”, “Live in the now” and “These are the 10 hottest fashion trends NOW”, can lead to disappointment.

This persistent pursuit and disappointment of intangible nowness can be observed daily in fashion. Giorgio Agamben touches on this in What is the Contemporary? by stating that “the time of fashion…constitutively anticipates itself and consequently is also always too late.” There seems to be an obsession to capture fashion trends in the present, without the realization that it is an impossible task. Is this fixation with time, that cannot be achieved, ultimately overshadowing the actual appreciation of fashion itself?

Yesterday, I visited a website called On entering the website the logo “NOWFASHION” is followed by a slogan reading: “The first online magazine to publish photos in real time.” Underneath the slogan the date and time “MON SEP 11 2017 12:15:27 GMT-0400 (EDT)” and at the top of the page a timeline showing upcoming events, the words “LIVE IN 5h 27’ 52”” counting down in red below each event title, making it clear from the get go that this website’s sole purpose is to attempt to display nowness.

Upon visiting the website, the always counting (always too late) clock – tick tock, tick tock – was exhausting. With every second that passed by it became more and more apparent, that no matter the gimmicks (live streaming, flashing typography) – time will continue to moving on, making it impossible to fully embrace the now as it unceasingly disappears into the past. I was so fixated on when the timer would change, that I ended up not even looking at the images.

This website is merely one example that we are running a race against time. A race that we will never win. Perhaps it is time we accept this and in essence remove the pressure we place on the now and ourselves. By eliminating the power of the now, appreciating the past and looking into the future, this desire to always be relevant in relation to others will potentially fade away and we might just enjoy fashion as fashion again.



Giorgio Agamben, “What is the Contemporary?” in What is an Apparatus? Trans. David Kishik, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), 48.