Art of the In-Between

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!

Happy Creating!

– Ella

Introducing Precollege Blogger: Ella!

I am a New Yorker through and through. I love the city and hope to live here once I graduate from college. New York is a great place for people watching – yes, I am the person that stares for just a little too long on the subway. I observe what people wear as well as how clothing affects their movement. I enjoy thinking about how behavior and clothing are interconnected. In the future, I want to research the psychological effect of constrictive clothing on women.

Every summer from ages 11-15, I spent a week sewing costumes with my friend Ruby. I’ve always enjoyed reading classics, consequently, many of the costumes were inspired by books like Pride and Prejudice and Little Woman. This annual project taught me how to decipher patterns and how to understand the construction of different garments. As I grew older, my sewing evolved. I began sewing and designing clothing for everyday use and for special occasions. I am currently working on a crocheted crop top and short tube skirt to match. In addition to sewing, I dance, sing in a choir, and take karate classes. My interest in pattern making and sewing led me to FIT. I took an Intro to Draping class last year that broadened my understanding of how to construct patterns and of how fabric falls. This year I’m taking an Intro to Menswear Sewing class. I’ve only sewn woman’s clothing, and I chose this class to challenge myself. I’m also excited to gain experience using an industrial sewing machine. I always leave class bursting with new ideas. The FIT campus is an inspiring environment; creativity lives in the air. That is all for now. Spring is on the way, and another semester of precollege classes are off to a start. I look forward to blogging for all of you! Happy creating!

– Ella

The Working Man

Menswear, particularly men’s street wear, is something I find very interesting. I like looking at men and seeing the way they dress and what looks good on them. Construction workers in particular are a whole interesting group that deserve more attention than they get. They are gritty and dirty and real. Their clothes are a reflection of their work in the practicality of it. They seem to have their own definition of who they are. I don’t mean to talk about construction workers as a different species of human, it is a profession, and maybe to them it doesn’t define who they are. But in the same way you look at a group of business men and place a blanket statement over them, I look at construction workers and have something to say that I feel can apply to all of them.

Construction is everywhere in New York. The scaffolding in front of my school just came down a few months ago after being there for more than six years. Streets are being constantly torn up, facades of buildings being transformed, new ones being built. As much as the skyline seems to be constantly developing, one thing that never changes are the men who work on these projects. I’m talking about construction workers. We all know that Construction Workersfamous photograph of a group of young men hanging from the metal interior of a building hundreds of feet above the ground. The men in that picture fall somewhere between impossibly cool and utterly foolish.

Although the general uniform has changed over the years, the general feeling that construction workers carry throughout their respective eras has not. I see them every day on the subway, everyday on my way to school. They are rugged, like an urban lumberjack. During the winter you see them trapped in layers of sweatshirts and long underwear, and during the summer they strip down to t-shirts, showing their bare arms. Their hands are calloused and broken. Some carry strong and slim torsos, others hold a belly of beer. In a world and in a time when gender and sexuality and identity are all so subjective, I believe that when you look at a construction worker you are looking at a man. Back to the olden days of Cowboys and Indians and Clint Eastwood. I don’t mean to put a whole group of people in a box, I’m not saying that this the rule, or even the truth, this is just my truth.

Construction workers carry a sense of pride with them, you can see it in the way they hold themselves. They are confident. They know exactly what they are capable of, and have a sense of proficiency. Even if their job is cutting 2 by 4s or nailing two pieces of wood together, they know what they are doing. They look put together because they’re style comes out of necessity. They don’t necessarily care how they look, but they have to wear certain things just for the mechanics of their job. Tighter fitting clothes so as not to get in the way, but loose enough that they can work in them.

In fashion you can find inspiration literally everywhere. I find it in the diverse culture of the people around me. Maybe you can find it in the architecture of buildings or the delicate shape of flower petals. Whatever it is make it yours. Keep it close to you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

Sophia

 

Congratulations Noah!

NoahThomasCONGRATULATIONS TO NOAH THOMAS WHO WAS JUST ACCEPTED TO FIT THIS FALL 2014 FOR Menswear!

Courses taken in Precollege Programs include:
HAR 016  Creating the Fashion Figure
HMW 157  Introduction to Menswear Sewing

Were you accepted to FIT this fall too? We’d love to feature you on the blog as well!
Email: Marta_Regulski@fitnyc.edu for more information

Keeping an Open Mind

For my Fashion Forecasting class, we took a trip to Macy’s. We had an assignment, which was to pick a department (either women’s, men’s, children’s, or accessories) and answer a few questions.

macysWhichever department we chose for the assignment had to be the department we use for our end of semester project, in which we must predict a trend for spring 2015.

I was positive that I was going to do my project on womenswear, so I immediately headed towards the 3rd floor, when my friend, Shioban, convinced me to shop around the men’s department first. I’m so happy she did.

Menswear never really interested me. I thought that it was boring, and that there is not much to do with menswear. I was pleasantly surprised by how fascinated I was with it.

mtThe displays were beautiful. The mannequins all looked so dapper, as did the men shopping there. The trend seemed to be a newer, fresher, and more modern gentleman, inspired by the early 20th century. This was further illustrated through one of the sales associate’s bow ties, which was made of wood.

Another sales associate let me in on a secret, bow ties are THE new menswear trend. These were not your basic bow ties either. There were barely any basic blacks to be seen. They came in every color of the rainbow, in every fabric you could ask for, and any pattern imaginable. There was no basic stripes, the were boldly colored.

mt2Red satin bow ties, á la Jared Leto, were flying off the displays. Paisley, geometric prints, houndstooth, and even bow tied with some sparkle woven in were everywhere.

It’s safe to say I’m obsessed with menswear now.

I learned to keep an open mind. The trip taught me that those that are closed-minded will not succeed in fashion. Keep an eye out for old trends that may reappear, like the bow tie. Don’t close yourself off, to fashion or anything else. I didn’t, and now I have a new found love of menswear, and two bow ties.

What do you think about menswear? What do you think about women wearing menswear items?

Until next time,

Arielle