Four months and twenty days before 11 designers debuted their latest collection on the stage at the venue Villain on North 3rd St for Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, garment workers in Bangladesh were ordered to return to work in a building that was already beginning to show signs of structural failure serious enough to keep the other businesses in it shuttered. It collapsed shortly thereafter, causing 1,129 individual humans to be crushed and suffocated by concrete and rubble.
Arthur Arbit, the local tailor who started Williamsburg Fashion Weekend in 2006, opened this year’s event by pointing out that there is no way to produce a $15 blouse for H&M without the garment being soaked in someone’s blood; this year it may be appropriate to adjust that to say that there’s rubble in the pockets of your Levi’s. Arthur’s event provides copious evidence that industrial fashion, although difficult to avoid, is not our only option. Continue reading →
There are few better signs that you picked the right thing to wear to an event than walking in and finding that the designer of your clothes went with the same choice. While normally finding your twin out in public is an annoyance, at Williamsburg Fashion Weekend it’s a sign of maturity: styles incubated in their most intense forms on the stage here bleed onto the bodies in the crowd and out the doors towards the street.
In the most recent occurrence of the biannual show this past Friday and Saturday, the scene opened with terse, politically pointed words from charismatic frontman Arthur Arbit: it’s simply not possible to come home from H&M or Bloomingdale’s with a $29 blouse without slave-like labor being involved in some stage of that supply chain. He then quickly stepped aside to show us several dreams and a couple nightmares of the alternative. Selected photos are below, but you can find my full gallery from the first night here.
The first showing of the night was Uta Brauser (photos in gallery) with her Got Armor? collection. Meant to be a critique of modern gun violence, the stylish vests and shields of this collection are perhaps too plausible, and I loved the image of models pantomiming classic runway moves as they deflected the on-stage barrage of (soft foam) bullets. Continue reading →