This week, I went to the new fashion exhibit, Art of the In-Between, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibit showed work by fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons, which translates to “as the boys”. Rei Kawakubo studied fine arts and aesthetics at Keio University in Tokyo, but she does not have a traditional fashion education. She began by designing clothes for women and later began designing men’s clothing as well. She focuses on mobility and comfort in her designs.
Rei Kawakubo challenges our western definition of beauty. When you walk into the exhibit, the first garments that you see are these red dresses. The cloth is wrapped and layered in such a way that there are large lumps that distort the figure. I immediately noticed how this strayed from the traditional hourglass figure one sees accentuated in a majority of woman’s couture. Rei’s designs each have a unique shape that has nothing to do with highlighting one’s physical features. They are works of art that happen to be wearable. Rei once said,“For something to be beautiful, it doesn’t have to be pretty.” This is exactly what I observed. Every garment I saw had beauty and power, but none of them were pretty. “Beauty is whatever one thinks is beautiful.” – Rei Kawakubo, I agree that beauty is subjective, and everyone has a unique definition of what beauty means. Art of the In-Between made me think about my own definitions of beauty and how beauty is sometimes inexplicable.
Since I am taking a menswear class, I noticed her use of men’s clothing. There were multiple garments that she had created by cutting up suits and reconfiguring them. After being disassembled, the garments no longer seemed to have genders. I enjoy observing how designers combine men and woman’s couture. I myself want to experiment using classic men’s suit jacket collars in woman’s clothing.
I also noticed her use of fabric and color. She used a lot of blacks, reds, pinks, and whites which seemed influenced by classic European styles. I also was reminded of Victorian era dresses by a few of the garments. I think this was due to their heavy and luxurious fabric.
The exhibit will be open until September 4, so I encourage you all to go check it out for yourselves!
I’ve recently been thinking about what inspires me and more specifically what inspires me when I sew.
Over the weekend, I soaked up fresh air and sunshine by taking a walk through Central Park. Spring is one of my favorite seasons because of all the beautiful colors. Spring also happens to be my birthday season!
As I strolled through the park, I took in all the lovely springtime colors: the clear blue water of the reservoir, the bursts of pink and white apple and cherry blossoms, the bright yellow tulips colored like egg yolks, and the fresh green leaves and grass that give the park its green haze.
Colors are an important aspect of fashion. Although you will often find me wearing blacks and grays, I enjoy using bright fabrics when I sew or design clothing. In my FIT menswear class, I am currently making a dress shirt using yellow fabric. I thought this would be a fun and an appropriate color for a spring shirt.
Nature is definitely a source of inspiration for me not only in my sewing but in other areas of my life as well. There is something invigorating about simply breathing a breath of fresh air, or I may just be a nature-deprived New Yorker and subsequently romanticize every leaf, twig, and flower I lay eyes on.
There are many things that inspire me, and not necessarily to do something specific. They just imbue me with an energy and motivation to learn and create new things. I realized that another main source of inspiration is visual and performing art. In our society, art plays the important role of inspiring others. I draw hope, happiness, and motivation from all art forms. There are more things such as lectures, feelings, and experiences that also motivate me. All the above lift my spirits and keep me working towards doing something that maybe one day will inspire others.
- What inspires you?
- Do you also like to walk through parks people-watching and soaking in fresh are and colors?
- Where do you draw inspiration from for your fashion designs?
Three of my pieces from my first class at FIT!
Change…it’s a loaded word, isn’t it? Many people are hesitant to step into new situations, embark on uncharted waters. But, in our ever-evolving society, change is something we need to embrace. FIT has helped me to cultivate this mindset by teaching me that change can be a catalyst for creativity and positivity. As I travel into the city each week for class, I am kept on my toes by the dynamic developments occurring in today’s fashion industry.
A unique design from one of FIT’s curated museum exhibits. I love how this piece challenges typical fashion through its asymmetrical shape, unique pattern, and beautiful butterfly detail!
Much like New York City, the world of fashion and art is something that transforms every day, every hour, every minute. Being surrounded by such knowledgeable professors and talented peers who have my same passion for this exhilarating field challenges me to think outside of the box and explore new ideas in my own artistic journey. When I sat down in my first FIT class three years ago as a nervous freshman in high school who loved to sew, my perception of fashion was relatively limited to what I personally thought was aesthetically pleasing. As time went on and I enrolled in more classes, however, I learned that fashion was so much more than beautiful clothing; it is an art form that represents the evolution of culture.
This is a Charles James design I saw at the MET a few summers ago. At the time this piece was created, it was completely breaking customary fashion (and societal) boundaries!
My time at FIT has taught me to question social norms and challenge complacency, both in my creations and in daily life. I challenge all of you to step outside of your comfort zones in your artwork and embrace the excitement of change. To quote the great CoCo Chanel, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Talk to you next week!
Student: Jake from Rockville Centre, NY
Program: Saturday Live Spring 2017
Precollege Course: HID 029 55A Rendering Interior Spaces (Level 2)
Describe your personal style:
To describe my style, I would say it is trendy, Boho Chic and Preppy.
Where do you go on your breaks from class?
I love going to Starbucks on my breaks.
What is your favorite thing about FIT?
I like the creative atmosphere and amazing professors at FIT the most.
Who or what inspires you?
New York City itself inspires me, along with pop culture and Beyoncé.
What do you want to do after you graduate from college?
I would like to be an Architect and an Interior Designer.
Photo Credit: Tyler Roarty
Dover Street Market is a store started by the brand “Comme de Garçon” which pulls together designers from all around the world to showcase their works. DSM’s merchandise is marked by wildly successful brands ranging from “Supreme” to “Gucci” and every brand in between and beyond. Recently, I was able to take a tour of the store with my FIT Precollege class, here’s what happened:
On the walk from FIT to DSM, I find myself constantly looking out for an ex-school building turned high-end fashion store. It isn’t until I already walk W A Y past the store that my classmates who had previously visited call me over to the pristine, and understated front stoop. We wait outside for a little bit before three women in all black couture come out to find us. The women then guide us like a group of lost sheep into a side entrance, past a series of exceedingly well-dressed security guards, and into the front room
The unmarked building should, in theory, turn away potential customers simply because if it’s mysteriously camouflaged storefront. The exact same characteristic that would keep a customer from shopping in the store is, a lot of the time, what brings in customers. The extremely well-dressed tour guide/ sales associate/ social media representative explained to us that it is chiefly the supposed exclusivity that appeals to people; the glamor of possibly shopping alongside celebrities in an aloof, chic, New York City store is just as appealing as getting VIP passes to a music festival or invited to throw the first pitch at a Yankee game.
Our guide sends us with another sales associate who brings us up to the top floor by way of a GLASS ELEVATOR (I mean… how cool! I felt very much like Charlie in the chocolate factory) which allows us to catch a glimpse of the magical curation of designer goods as we rise. We step into the first exhibit-like showroom consisting of Supreme right next to Gucci, which is right next to Junya Watanabe. Following our lovely journey in the magic elevator, we make our way back down floor by floor, getting a better look at the extremely impressive detail that goes into every brand’s space before ending the tour with an informal Q&A session about how someone may get to working at a store like DSM.
I had always wanted to make my way into Dover Street Market, but I never really knew if I would find an opportunity to. I loved learning about everything DSM does! FIT Precollege Programs has once again opened doors for me to experience the industry in a really cool way!
Special thanks to the team at Dover Street Market for a great day! Make your way down to 160 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016! WARNING: It’s really cool :)
See you all next week!