Issue #3

Fashion Projects #3

Fashion Projects 3
Cover Image: Shelley Fox, “Foundation,” Study and Telephone Room, Belsay Hall: Northumbria, 2004. Photo: Keith Paisley.

Fashion Projects 3 is out and will be available in newstands and bookstores in North America, as well as on our website! The issue focuses on the topic of fashion and memory and was inspired by a moving essay on the topic by Peter Stallybrass. It features interviews with fashion curator Judith Clark, fashion designer Shelley Fox, photographer Tanya Marcuse and much more—and was beautifully designed by Shannon Curren.

We hope you’ll enjoy our new issue, as we much as we enjoyed making it!

Posted in Designers, From the Magazine, Issue #3, Museums, Performance, Photography, Publications, Sustainable Fashion, Textiles

Fashion Projects #3: Table of Contents

Table of Contents

00— Editorial Letter

01— Fashion as Expanded Practice: An Interview with Shelley Fox
by Francesca Granata

02— Experiments in Fashion Curation: An Interview with Judith Clark
by Sarah Scaturro

03— Televisual Memories: An Interview with Eugenia Yu
by Erin Lindstrom

04— Reflections on Absence Photo Essay: Cooper-Hewitt Textiles Collections
Written by Sarah Scaturro; Photographed by Keith Price

05— American Industrial Past: Ohio Knitting Mills
by Lisa Santandrea

06— Ready Made Memories: Erica Weiner’s Jewelry
by Francesca Granata

07— Imprints of the Body: An Interview with Tanya Marcuse
by Tamsen Schwartzman

Posted in From the Magazine, Issue #3

Fashion Projects #3: Editorial Letter

by Francesca Granata
Back Cover: Eugenia Yu, “Tie Dress” from Father Collection

In thinking of clothes as passing fashions, we repeat less than half-truth. Bodies come and go; the clothes which have received those bodies survive. They circulate though secondhand shops, through rummage sales, through the Salvation Army; or they are transmitted from parent to child, from sister to sister, from brother to brother, from sister to brother, from lover to lover, from friend to friend.
(Peter Stallybrass, “Worn Worlds: Clothes, Mourning, and the Life of Things” The Yale Review 1993 vol. 81. no. 2, pp. 35-50)

The idea of dedicating an issue of Fashion Projects to the topic of fashion and memory started while reading Peter Stallybrass’s “Worn Worlds: Clothes, Mourning, and the Life of Things,” an engaging and lyrical essay on the author’s remembrance of his late colleague Allon White through the garments White wore.

Stallybrass’s piece elucidates people’s intimate relations with clothes—i.e. their materiality, their smell and creases—and the inextricable relations between clothes and memory. It traces the way in which clothes retain “the history of our bodies.” Wearing White’s jacket at a conference, the author describes the way clothes are able to trigger strong and vivid memories: “He was there in the wrinkles of the elbows, wrinkles that in the technical jargon of sewing are called ‘memory’; he was there in the stains at the very bottom of the jacket; he was there in the smell of the armpits.”

My interest in the topic was then piqued while sitting in on a class on fashion curation taught by Alistair O’ Neil at the London College of Fashion, where a number of students curated a fashion exhibition comprised of used gowns and top hats, their main value resting not in their design or historical relevance to fashion in history, but in their being second (or maybe third or fourth) hand, thus retaining intricate yet irretrievable history in their signs or wear, their stains, their scents. This lyrical exhibition, titled “A Walk in the Wardrobe” and staged in an old and seemingly abandoned space, was a reminder of the importance of reconnecting with the materiality of cloth and clothes.

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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, From the Magazine, Issue #3, Museums, Publications, Sustainable Fashion

Fashion Projects #3: Experiments in Fashion Curation—An Interview with Judith Clark

by Sarah Scaturro

Ruben Toledo, Simonetta Starter Kit
Ruben Toledo Drawing for the Simonetta Exhibition at Palazzo Pitti.

I first encountered Judith Clark’s work through a 2004/5 exhibition at the ModeMuseum in Antwerp called “Malign Muses: When Fashion Turns Back” (later titled “Spectres: When Fashion Turns Back,” when it traveled to the Victoria &Albert Museum). The exhibition was essentially a series of probing conversations about the relationship of fashion with history that took place between Clark and fashion theorist Caroline Evans. Clark has been experimenting with curating and displaying costume since she opened the Judith Clark Costume Gallery in 1997. She is now a joint London College of Fashion/Victoria and Albert Research Fellow.

Fashion Projects : One particularly powerful vignette in the “Malign Muses” exhibition was titled “Locking In and Out,” which manifested in horizontally rotating cogs on which the dressed mannequins were secured. As the cogs literally locked in and out of each other echoing the cyclical nature of fashion, the garments were forced in and out of proximity with others – a fleeting closeness that automatically imposed new relationships between the clothing. Were you surprised at some of the relationships and insights that were realized through this seemingly randommechanism?

Judith Clark: There is of course always a difference between the design and the effect when it is built in the exhibition space. There are also, importantly, the references and associations that the visitor brings to any installation and as you suggest cogs have many powerful connotations. I felt that in a way the “Locking In and Out” section could lend itself to many interpretations– cogs in a fashion machine, or the powerful association between objects through simple proximity, the alienation when this is ‘unlocked’, the endlessness of the fashion cycle, and the odd number three. There could have been any number of cogs and indeed a fanciful first design draft had hundreds of cogs intersecting, which would have further illustrated that all dresses are in some way related to all other dresses, but happen to come into contact only if a trend manipulates the relationship.

Spectres When Fashion Turns Back
Spectres: When Fashion Turns Back. Installation Shot, Victoria and Albert Museum.

FP: In an essay for the book MoMu Backstage, you write, “Historical reference in dress has never been about evolution, continuity. There are other ways of plotting this. In dress, surfaces float free of their histories.” This statement seems to dispute the chronological display methodology that is often apparent in museum exhibitions. Do you think the most effective interpretations of dress dispense with chronology and literalism? What should we be looking for when seeking patterns and relationships in fashion?

JC: I’m not sure that I would dispense with chronological display as it does represent one important story and it does represent evolution from a designer’s point of view. I think the problem with it is that it presents inspiration as linear. What interest me are the other patterns at play. This is why I was so fascinated by Caroline Evans’s book Fashion at the Edge. It was because she was describing inspiration and historical reference in different spatial terms: labyrinthine, as leaps into the past (“tigersprung”) etc. I thought these might be clues to curating a different kind of story. I now get my students to read a piece of theory in three-dimensions, which means reading fashion theory looking out for spatial metaphors, and sketch what shapes come into their heads— these are rarely straight lines.

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Posted in Exhibitions, From the Magazine, Interviews, Issue #3, Museums

Fashion as Expanded Practice: An Interview with Shelley Fox

by Francesca Granata


From Fashion Projects #3

The work of New York-based British designer Shelly Fox came to prominence shortly after her graduation from the famed Central Saint Martins MA in 1996. Her beautifully- crafted “scorched felt” pieces, which made up her graduation collection, were promptly acquired by Liberty, the London department store known for championing independent designers.

Initially known for her textile experimentation and innovative pattern-cutting techniques, Fox eventually began to expand her practice into installation and film, at first in conjunction with her fashion presentations and later—as she became a research fellow at Central Saint Martins and ceased to produce seasonal collections—as stand-alone research projects.

What characterizes the various permutations of her work is an attention to the materiality of the fabric and garments she creates. This often leads her to explore the connections between clothes, memory and history—an exploration which is backed by extensive research in archives and collections. Perhaps counterintuitively, she combines this interest in the physicality of the clothes with an engagement with a variety of media. Partially thanks to her numerous collaborations, she has expanded her practice into film, sound installations, photography and, through a project she produced together with SHOWstudio in 2002, digital media. This multimedia aspect of her work is matched by a multi-sensorial one, as the sound and smell of the clothes and the fabric often play an important role in her work.

Fox has recently been appointed Donna Karan Professor of Fashion and chair of the soon-to-be-launched MFA program in Fashion Design and Society at Parsons. This has prompted her move to New York, where she plans to convey this expansive idea of what it means to be a fashion designer to her students.

I met with Fox in the West Village coffee shop to discuss her past and present work.

Shelley Fox, FAT MAP Collection
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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion Shows, Film, From the Magazine, Interviews, Issue #3


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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