exploring the emotion of fashion through a fanboy's teen bedroom

Showing at the Museum of Arts and Design, the new exhibition ‘fashion after Fashion’ brings out the serious, and personal, sides of the industry.

by André-Naquian Wheeler
28 April 2017, 10:36pm

image courtesy of the museum of arts and design

The chief endeavor of fashion after Fashion is to demonstrate that, like it or not, everyone is involved in the fashion system. That working thesis encompasses both designers and their diehard fans but also people who wear Crocs (and not the ones made by Christopher Kane). The left-brained show, on display at the Museum of Arts and Design through August 6, highlights designers and creatives interested in fashion theory and creating new realities for the industry. For example, Lucy Jones, winner of Parsons's Womenswear Designer of the Year award, has created subtle, but glamorous, arm casts for seated people with disabilities. Showing a collection of over 26 ivory casts decorated with frills and Vetements-esque layers upon layers, Jones argues that beauty does not have to be sacrificed for functionality.

"Fashion is a form of communication and participation," says Parsons professor Hazel Clark who, along with trend forecaster Ilari Laamanen, curated the exhibition. "There's a need for some more definition as to what the word 'fashion' means. It's not just about the perfect air-brushed images we get in glossy magazines. It's about real people and our identities and our subjectivities."

Other pieces in the exhibition include a film by Eckhaus Latta and Alexa Karolinski, who shot interviews with people across the spectrum of race, gender identification, age, and self-expression. Their films' subjects talk, uninterrupted, about what fashion means to them. One interview features Juliana Huxtable professing her aesthetic to be like that of "an Upper East Side woman who moved to California to feel young again."

Perhaps the poignancy of fashion after Fashion comes from the fact that each piece concerns itself with the artist's personal definition of fashion. A Dolce and Gabbana ad can represent glorious, unrestrained queerness to one person and overpriced clothes to another. Chris Vidal Tenomaa, who founded and directs SSAW Magazine with Toumas Laitnen, falls on the romantic side of that dichotomy. "I remember growing up in Spain, in a small bedroom, buying fashion magazines and wallpapering my wall with the images," says Tenomaa. This childhood obsession is exactly why Laitnen and Tenomaa recreated a teenager's bedroom for the show. They cranked fanboying to the max by covering every square inch, object, and fabric with a fashion image. "Yes, fashion can be a little superficial, but it can also be more than that," Tenomaa says, "It can be culture, it can be music, it can be a lot of things. Our ultimate intention is to make fashion something a little bit more emotional and closer to your heart."

"fashion after Fashion" is on view at the Museum of Arts and Design through August 26.


Text André-Naquian Wheeler
Images courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

Eckhaus Latta
Juliana Huxtable
Museum of Arts and Design
fashion after fashion