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 →
Williamsburg Fashion Weekend’s founder, producer and creator Arthur Arbit is all about conscientious, ethical clothing made here in the USA, not in 3rd world countries.
His message was when you’re shopping for clothes made in the corporate fashion world, someone’s paying with their blood. But not these clothes…each piece of clothing featured in the shows was made by its designer’s hands or otherwise American born.
Details and photos for each designer after the jump!
Both nights of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend were highly entertaining. The fashion show style differed from neighboring Manhattan’s fashion week in a refreshing, non-corporate, chill, handmade and environmentally friendly kind of way.
Here are a few highlights from the shows:
First up was an Andrea Diodati’s fairy kei collection, full of recycled materials & found objects. Everything from curtains, doilies, pillows, chenille bathrobes, crochet this&that and other unsuspected objects were found in this delightful collection of pink, baby-doll looks. The pink cotton candy hair w/rainbow highlights gave a serious nod to Marge Simpson in terms of height and playfulness. A few stand-out items were the spandex harem leggings, plush back-packs and jackets with “pillow” collars, giving a whole new meaning to the bed-jacket. Andrea, inspired by post-impressionist artist Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s “la Clownesse” (female clown), described it as David Bowie meets the Easter Bunny. The visuals were sweetheart candies for the eyes with girls dancing nymph-like to hypnotizing narration + midnight cowboy music (make that cow-girl).