Many thanks to the Cape Ann Museum, our host, and to everyone that attended the panel discussion: Wearable Art: Exploring Expressions on the Human Form. We had four amazing panelists and moderator and our event was organized seamlessly by Anita Blackaby who is part of our CWA committee. In early 2015 as we prepared for the last runway event, our committee member, Andree Robert suggested that we find a way to collaborate with the Cape Ann Museum. We began our collaboration vibrant panel discussion the week after the runway show in 2015. Last week, we were able as a “kick-off” the runway event and by doing so loop in the fashion experts who will be quite pre-occupied on October 1 which is officially the start of Boston Fashion Week.
While each panelist began by sharing their own creations and experience with “wearable art,” the discussion was centered on key questions concerning where the artists find their inspiration – inside and outside the art world, how making things wearable is different, and whether wearable art could be the new haute-couture. Another track was focused on the overall “wearability” of the various works. Coming from the fashion side of things, Jay Calderin (Boston Fashion Week & School of Fashion Design) reminded us that much of the fashion of earlier centuries barely allowed the wearer to move. Jennifer Varekamp leads her students through an organic journey of learning around the pieces that go into a fashion design. She takes her classes to the places (overseas) where things are made by hand in the most fundamental way to help them gain full appreciation of the work. The student-panelist, Nell McKeon led us through her personal relationship with art and art-to-wear and encouraged everyone to look for the art and design in everything around them. Rick Crangle focused on “problem-solving” as the key muse that helps him find new inspiration throughout his work. Overall, the audience was fully engaged in a very robust discussion about what we wear and why we wear it!
What’s also significant to our effort and to the seARTS spirit, is the incredible collaboration that we have seen in our wearable art events. Since we began our journey in July 2007 at the Gloucester House, our first “salon” it has become apparent that wearable art crosses many boundaries and inspires artists from all genres. Lauren Whitley from the MFA who spoke at our last Salon event and will also be a runway judge this year wrote a fabulous history of wearable art and this is a great way to describe the people that attended last week and will attend on October 1. “In the early twentieth century, unconventional artistic dress had achieved a certain level of acceptance. Wearing of artistic dress had even become a badge of distinction, bestowing upon the wearer an aura of progressive ideals, intellectualism, and good taste.”