Issue #2

Issue #2: Fashion and Art Collectives

Published January 2007

The second issue of Fashion Projects covers fashion and art collectives, as well as collaborative projects between artists and fashion designers. It’s meant as a reminder of the inherently collaborative nature of fashion which is often forgotten as, particularly at the higher ends of the industry, so much rides on the “individual” designer.

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Issue #2: Fashion and Art Collectives, Table of Contents


Elsewhere: Between Art Collaborative and House of Wonder

Ephemeral Conversations: Simon Periton’s Collaborations with Raf Simons, Philip Treacy and Junya Watanabe

Elegant Subversions: An Interview with Cat Chow

Show Me Your Reality and I’ll Show You Mine: An Interview with Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of

Studio 5050’s Fuzzy Fashion

Boundless Practice: An Interview with Susan Cianciolo

At the Forefront of Austrian Fashion: An Interview with

Serpica Naro: The Great Fashion Swindle

Clashing Hues: European Protests Movements and Costume

Pierre Bourdieu Goes to Town

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Elsewhere: Between Art Collaborative and House of Wonder

by Francesca Granata
Interior View

In 2004 George Scheer, Stephanie Sherman and Josh Fox started an art collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina in what used to be Scheer’s grandmother’s thrift store. Aptly called Elsewhere, the three story building appears as a hybrid between haunted house and cabinet of curiosities: It is filled with garments, toys, furniture and fabric accrued by Scheer’s grandmother throughout the best part of the last century. An amorphous and ever-changing repository of twentieth century American history, it has proved a great raw material for the array of artists in residence, who have visited and altered the space in the past two years. The strangeness of the locale, coupled with its geographical distance from the epicenters of contemporary art, have allowed Elsewhere and the artists to follow unusual routes both in terms of their relation to traditional notions of art and to the “individual” nature of their practice.

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Ephemeral Conversations: Simon Periton’s Collaborations with Raf Simons, Philip Treacy and Junya Watanabe

by Sonya Mooney
Junya Watanabe Autumn/Winter 2003-2004; Raf Simons Autumn/Winter 2002-2003

Simon Periton is a British artist who attended Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London in the late 1980s. He has been exhibiting his work internationally since the early 1990s and is currently represented by Sadie Coles Gallery in London.

It is hard to categorize Periton’s work as solely painting, sculpture or graphic design, as it incorporates elements from each of these disciplines. He works primarily in two dimensions, using a scalpel to precisely cut away at large multiple pieces of paper leaving behind delicate filigrees which are then layered one on top of the other and pinned to the wall. His work simultaneously references the fragile paper art of the nineteenth century and the graphic nature of advertising imagery while retaining an almost Netherlandish painterly precision. Themes range from the organic (floral garland motifs) to the anatomical (the human heart) to the subversive (evidenced in his use of the Anarchy A symbol, missiles and barbed wire).

In 1999, Periton collaborated with the British milliner Philip Treacy on several hats for Treacy’s Autumn/Winter collection. Periton’s fashion collaborations continued in 2002 with his work for the Belgian designer Raf Simons. The British artist applied his precise cut out techniques to actual garments for Simons’ Autumn/Winter 2002-2003 collection. Most recently Periton’s Anarchy A imagery was used as a print in Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons’ Autumn/Winter 2003-2004 collection.

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Elegant Subversions: An Interview with Cat Chow

by Francesca Granata
Undress, 2005

The doorbell to Cat Chow’s apartment is marked through a pictorial language of sort, as her name is spelled out by a sticker of a cat and one of sushi; the Chicago artist’s studio is taken over by stunning garments and objects made of disparate materials: plastic nipples, zippers, chain mail…. Her doorbell presages Chow’s quirky sensibility and subtle humor, which often comes through in her work, despite the fact that her pieces often tackle weighty socio-political issues. They do so in a painfully elegant and at times quiet aesthetic attained through a painstaking and skillful mastery of crafts.

Some of her pieces veer towards the ironic, as is the case with her Power-Ranger Kimono, which seeks to subvert stereotypical representations of Asian women by constructing a kimono out of power-ranger cards, or with Measure for Measure, a 1950s house dress woven out of measuring tapes of different colors. Other pieces are characterized by a certain lyrical sadness embodying a painful and contradictory beauty, which comes across as symbolic of female beauty.Ultimately, her garments speak of empowerment but also of constraint, as with the Heavy Metal dress-an all-metal dress, which appears deceitfully soft and fluid despite its weight-or maybe even more so with her zipper garments (for which she is best known), which more explicitly bring up questions of pain and beauty: Their potential to be completely zipped or unzipped posits a dangerous scenario, which reminds the viewer of the vulnerability of the unclothed body.

Her work has been shown internationally within various contexts which vary from Fashion museums, (the Met’s Costume Institute and the Museum at FIT) to contemporary arts museums (the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston) to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. This doesn’t prevent her from holding on to her inherent unpretentiousness and her punk-rock spirit which lives on in the band she recently started with her boyfriend: Fashion Show.Measure for Measure, a 1950s housedress woven out of measuring tapeBefore moving to Wicker Park you were at Northwestern studying costume design.

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About Fashion Projects

Fashion Projects began in New York in 2004, with the aim to create a platform to highlight the importance of fashion — especially “experimental” fashion — within current critical discourses. Through interviews with a range of artists, designers, writers and curators, as well as through other planned projects and exhibits, we hope to foster a dialogue between theory and practice across disciplines.

We are primarily a print journal, however we also publish web-based updates and interviews (a “digest” version of which you can receive by signing up to our mailing list or via our RSS feed) and are currently working on exhibits based on past and future issues. To order any of our issues visit our ordering page.

We are a nonprofit organization, which has previously received grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

We are currently a sponsored project by the New York Foundation of the Arts, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions on behalf of Fashion Projects can be made payable to the “New York Foundation of the Arts,” and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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