Human Mutuality & There is no planet C


Human Mutuality


What if we look at people the same way we look at profit?”

It’s seven thirty on a mellow Tuesday morning, Emma wakes up after the sun’s rays shyly start shining through the window panes of her modest home. After sitting down in front of an old vanity, she opens
the drawer, grabs a brush and notices some remaining cash and dollar bills which have been there for years, unused. She’s reminded of the time before the liberation from the rich and powerful.1 Her mother insists on not throwing the money away. It still has value to her. “To me it’s scraps of coloured paper with a number on it and an old man’s face which I’ve seen in history class but don’t bother remembering his name”, she thought to herself. Her mother is not completely wrong. Some still hunt for the green gold that held the world in its grasp, especially in the big cities, who never knew better. Emma doesn’t hold this greed anymore. In order to stop climate change and with it the inequality between the instigator and the receiver of its consequences, things have changed 2. The world was introduced to the climate tax and the maximum wage policy, it made becoming a billionaire practically impossible. The rich were our biggest polluters, but no more. Now that the temptation of becoming filthy rich is gone, we focus on our common wellbeing.

Emma lives with her mom in a modest but modern home in a new community some distance from the city. After the heat of the pandemic cooled down some people couldn’t wait to get away. Especially from the cities 3. This wasn’t the case for Emma and her mom. After spending the course of the pandemic in their home, they’ve come to cherish it 4. A safe home base was a necessity and they invested for it to become their luxury. It had become a sanctuary to them, everything they could possibly need was there. Luxuries still exist but the concept of what is considered luxury has changed. They seek it within the value or reward the community gets from it, instead of the price tag 5.

They grow a considerate amount of their food themselves in-and around the house. They eat what the season has to offer them 6. Other necessities are also grown local or can be traded. They can choose to trade through an app but within the community a lot of the possessions are shared and you are expected to help each other out 7. This way their network has become their most important currency and their social platforms have been redesigned to work in their favor regarding this 8.

Their local government besides guarding over safety, serves more as a community manager these days. Connecting people who need each other, making sure everyone gets equal opportunity and communicating with other communities and insitutions. For values, life enriching courses and creativity they turn to brands, which host meetings weekly near the communities they are strongly connected to 9.

After getting dressed Emma sets out, greeting Garrett. Garrett is a Philodendron Monstera plant sh got on her 12th birthday. Her mom thinks it’s weird that she named him but this doesn’t bother Emma. Many of her friends do the same. Plants and flora are given equal value as pets 10. It teaches them to care, like they should care about earth. Emma sees the hypocrisy in her mother’s remarks since she, in her turn, named the robotic device cleaning the house Fin, which she even compliments from time to time. We used to humanize our property, now we add personality to our plants. To take care of Garrett Emma checks the plantivity-app which it’s connected to which shows her how Garrett is doing and what it needs. They’ve managed to find a balance which has led to technology, humans and nature living symbiotically11. Stepping out Emma waves to mom, Garret and Fin and sets off to spend some time outdoors before returning to her duties at home and the community.


How would the brand Ronald van der Kemp function in a world like this?

Looking at RVDK’s strengths I believe it will have a lot in common with this scenario. Since he wants the fashion industry to return to its essence: the garment. The way he starts a project/collection is also beneficial: looking at what is available first and starting the creation process from there.

In the context of this scenario the luxury aspect of the brand could be seen as a weakness. The scenario’s society isn’t focussed on luxury- products as they are today and since a large portion of their lives is placed inside their home their preference lies within multi-functional wear, which means he might need to change his own view on luxury- wear as well.

Within this system, value and honesty is looked up to more than money. So, opportunities for RVDK lie within the common values of the people living within this scenario and the brand has. Both are very conscious with nature and with each other. RVDK might very well be one of the brands defining a community’s values.

Threats for RVDK can be found in the economic system of trading. If people prefer trade over buying new, the role of traditional ‘luxury fashion’ will not be as attractive anymore. So, the brand will need to find a more role defining way in the trade shaped market.

There is no planet C


What if we reach planet B, what about planet A?”

A quick knock echoed through the hall of Phoebe’s small ground floor apartment. Followed by the sound of a letter being hastily being shoved through the mailbox. The envelope read ‘WILL YOU BECOM ONE OF THE FIRST MARTIANS?’. “Great, more Mars propaganda” she mumbles while elegantly tossing the envelope into the trash can. When Phoebe first heard the news she/he was excited and in awe. She overheard conversations on the street about how proud we should be as humans, but Phoebe has a grim view on the subject. The promise of a life on mars for future generations that has been uttered before we even succeeded to bring this planet to a balance. People choose rather than fix, to flee. The same way we have chosen money over morals. Reluctantly she decides to read the letter anyway. “They have gone to great lengths this time, sending it by mail” she thinks to herself. Beside the usual luring texts it announces the trip will be privately funded by a third party. “My guess, these billionaires are not coming along themselves”. 1 This means Mars is for sale. You can’t declare something to be yours when you’ve barely found or in this case funded its exploration. We have clearly not learned from the past.

Phoebe reads the news daily, but doesn’t do so without heavily questioning it. With little regulation and the tech industry on the hunt for profits most news is false or has been written with the incentive
of money.2 Her upstairs neighbours are conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing was fak and consider the newfound discoveries on Mars a hoax or a way for the government to get rid of overpopulation. In Phoebe’s opinion they could use a break from the internet and get into the real world. 3

Now that we found a planet B, is everyone forgetting about planet A? Phoebe knows we could really use the space, literally. With the sea levels rising and climate catastrophes closing in, climate refugees are looking for a safe haven and the cities are becoming more crowded than ever.4 There have been some scientific attempts of even changing our atmosphere as a last resort to cool down the planet.5 “Why is it we always try to change literally everything else before we change ourselves?” she thinks to herself.

Phoebe lives alone. She’s twenty-five but not yet interested in family life. She wouldn’t be able to provide or find the time for kids. Besides that, career comes first. After the covid-pandemic in the former decade many were left without jobs. Just like Phoebe they ventured and started for themselves. Nearly all of her friends are freelancers 6. Some couldn’t bear staying indoors so they became digital nomads, roaming and working where they please. 7 Others have been driven to take this leap because the chance to get a better position than your parents is very small. 8 The motivation to work more has an evident motive: the relation between wealth and longevity is well known. 9

Phoebe feels the division and constant hunt for growth and success is weighing on her shoulders. As night fall approaches Phoebe sets off to bed. The stress and status anxiety she experiences on a daily basis is causing her to lose sleep. Mental health is viewed as a luxury, not a necessity. You’re lucky if you get to invest in it because it boosts productivity and productivity means profit. 10 She opens her Restflix app to trick her brain into sleep thru biometric technologies. 11 If she doesn’t she’ll endlessly worry about the planet and how the world is only a few leaps away from landing into a new age of colonization. Dozing off she dreams of a Mars owned not by money but by Mars. She sees herself looking towards earth from Mars thinking: “You were always my first choice”.


How would the brand Ronald van der Kemp function in a world like this?

When we’re looking at strengths within this brand which would be useful in a world as described in the scenario it would be functioning as a luxury-brand. People feel the need to be able to afford higher priced products and luxuries because this is what they see defines them successful and valuable.

A weakness of the company can be found in that he wouldn’t agree with the large audience in it’s values. Neither would he captivate the interest of the grand audience because not everyone is as focussed on the planet as the brand is.

Opportunities for RVDK lie within the fact that he could really mean something and make a difference in a world like this, because besides creating beauty, he creates it consciously. This is a value which in this scenario is somewhat overlooked.

Threats take the shape of poor technology regulation which leaves us divided in opinions and views. Which means making RVDK visible to a bigger audience is currently an extra challenge through the channels he’s operating right now. With this ‘division’ we mean the one-sided content we’re served online which causes a form of tunnel vision.


Brands and Innovation         Amsterdam Fashion Institute