I wanted to post a few websites and images based on the exhibitions we saw at FIT yesterday, since I found them to be very inspiring and relevant to our class. Ginny - since you were unable to join us, I hope these will be of interest and inspiration to you, too.
Alabama Chanin Natalie "Alabama" Chanin does good work(s). She compiles oral histories of Southern textile workers, salvages old quilts, and is striving to make her business zero-waste. All of the stitchers who create Chanin's (quite literally) homespun garments work from their own houses and live within an hour-and-a-half radius of her family and business base of Florence, Alabama. And they use organic materials grown and produced in the good ole U.S. of A.—a fact proudly announced on the Alabama Chanin label. (from Style Magazine website)
His American Gothic collection (2009) was inspired by the 1930 Grant Wood painting and is a modern interpretation of what he calls "Dust Cowl creativity". Presented at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea, the ORGANIC collection for Spring/Summer 2009 was not only an homage to the iconic painting by Grant Wood, but a reverse-the-consumption-trend art happening with models that stood fast and stood still. The entire collection was presented in diorama-like setting with fresh-faced, freckled youth exuding both the “hope” and the promise of good clean organics. (www.inhabitent.com) ”People don’t think about the ‘30s as an optimistic time,” the designer acknowledged. “But it’s when the chips are down that you really see the American character. Hope is on our DNA. We beat the Dust Bowl, we beat back the Great Depression, and today, facing challenges that seem as vast, if not vaster, what I see all around me are people working to create something new. They’re rebooting the system,” he continued, “and it’s that kind of crazy resourcefulness I want to celebrate.”
A few quotes I came across in the show:
"I really don't want to wear clothes made from someone else's despair." - Ali Hewson, founder of EDUN
People now "want things that are made well, that are made in a conscious way, that have long-term values, that are beautiful." - Julie Gilhart, fashion director for Barneys, NY.
Very little information can be found on this group of women of West Virginia who formed a quilting cooperative and caught the attention of the fashion and decorating world. (They won a prestigious fashion award in 1972 and sold their wares in NY boutiques.) In the photo below, Sharon Rockefeller, then the first lady of West Virginia and a supporter of the Mountain Artisans, wears the patchwork "hostess" skirt that she helped to popularize.