SCAD FASHWKND and the evolving fashion show

May
18
2017
By
Tags:

The story of the fashion show is the story of mutability. For over 125 years, fashion shows have made visible the aesthetics, social mores, and economic forces that sally through society.1  Their evolution highlights the importance of adaptation — survival of the best-fitting, if you will.

Clients once appraised couture on the backs of actual dolls.2 Mercers and dressmakers in the 1800s traded mannequins of wood and wax for their flesh and blood counterparts.3 The boldest couturiers ushered cloistered models into public as the original brand ambassadors. Prominent venues like Paris' Longchamp racecourse doubled as hotspots for sighting bold new fashions in the early twentieth century.4

Known as "mannequin parades," the shows consisted of walkabouts complete with refreshments.5 Scripted mini-dramas and "tango teas" put garments and sales in motion.6 Couture displays sated the upper crust's theatrical fancies; shows for the aspirational middle class appropriated the trappings of exclusive social gatherings.7 All cloaked the mechanisms of commerce behind the scrim of conviviality.

The shows reacted to geopolitics. In 1918, Europe set the precedent for fashion week, organizing biannual events to accommodate international buyers.8 New York's answer to the sartorial hegemony of Paris came in 1940, when the German occupation of France spurred publicist Eleanor Lambert to create "Press Week" — the precursor to NYFW.9

By 1950, sketching designs at a fashion show was grounds for eviction.10 Designers viewed cameras with suspicion, fearing fashion piracy.11  This changed in the 1960s with the ascendency of designer ready-to-wear and menswear, a charge led by the prescient Pierre Cardin.12 Headline-feeding spectacles proliferated. Once relegated to the corner, media scored prime seating.13

Today, social media circulates fashion in near real-time. Traeger Communications tallied 427,000 Instagram photos related to NYFW 2016, a 47% increase in one year.14 Designers spring for radical locations (Fendi's Great Wall of China), drop albums (Kanye West's "The Life of Pablo") and riff on conceptual art (Gianni Versace's Warhol dress).15,16,17 For Fall 2017, a handful of designers abandoned the runway altogether. Zac Posen launched his collection with only photographic portraits.18 Vera Wang released the atmospheric film "It was Paris at the Start," echoing Paul Poiret, who made history with the first fashion promo film in 1911.19,20

To stay relevant, fashion programs adapt to changes in the creative marketplace. Relatively new specialties including luxury and fashion management, runway set design, runway show production and professional modeling necessitate updates to curriculum and events. At SCAD, the best way to prepare students to produce the full spectrum of fashion shows is to do just that — stage shows.

SCAD FASHWKND opens May 18 with a juried runway show featuring the collections of select seniors and graduate students. Models will wend through SCAD Museum of Art's Alex Townsend Memorial Courtyard. The experiential event culminates with tableaux staged on the third floor of SCAD Atlanta. These vignettes have the added advantage of showcasing interior design and furniture design. Both locations will offer garments available for purchase, a nod to instant fashion. 

Ultimately, the history of runway shows reads less as a playbook, more as a book of plays. Students are free to create their own narratives at the permeable intersection of art and economics. The next generation of runway alchemists — our designers, editors, and tastemakers — has it all sewn up.

1http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/16875/1/how-the-theatre-of-f...

2http://www.encylopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-an...

3Evans, Caroline. “The Enchanted Spectacle.” Fashion Theory, 5:3 (2001): 272

4Ibid., 274.

5Ibid., 275.

6Ibid., 277.

7Ibid., 283.

8http://fashionista.com/2016/09/fashion-week-history

9http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/fashion/2006/02/how_the_runway_took_o...

10Evans, Caroline. “The Enchanted Spectacle.” Fashion Theory, 5:3 (2001): 304

11Ibid.

12Ibid., 298

13Ibid., 291

14http://fashionandmash.com/2016/03/21/social-media-by-the-numbers-the-big...

15http://www.vogue.com.au/celebrity/events/fendi+great+wall+of+china+show,...

16http://www.vogue.com/article/kanye-west-yeezy-season-3-the-life-of-pablo...

17http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150427-soup-cans-that-changed-fashion

18http://wwd.com/runway/fall-ready-to-wear-2017/new-york/zac-posen/review/

19http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/03/vera-wangs-paris-film-debuts-her-fall-20...

20Evans, Caroline. “The Enchanted Spectacle.” Fashion Theory, 5:3 (2001): 285

The unfurling artistry of Cory Imig

May
16
2017
By
Tags:

Crouched atop the pier at Tybee Island during Sand Arts Festival, Cory Imig (B.F.A., fibers, 2008) unclasped a brilliant spool of red fabric. Assistants on the beach below caught the billowing banner, anchoring it in the sand. As the tide went out over the course of the day, Imig moved along the pier, her banners forming an installation as vibrant as the seaside pageant itself.

SCAD: What's the origin of the piece?

Cory Imig: I first heard from SCAD foundation studies program coordinator Christopher Williams last November: "We've started a featured alumni artist portion of Sand Arts and we're wondering if you're interested in doing it." Woah! My first thought was how can anything compete with the horizon line and the vast scale of the beach? I've been on that beach — I participated in Sand Arts when I was a SCAD student. I thought it'd be a great opportunity to play off the existing architecture and use the pier.

I came out in March and did a site visit. At that point, Chris had sent me images of the beach. I'd cut pieces of colored paper into skinny pink rectangles and placed the shapes onto the images. You couldn't tell if the shapes were coming out of the sand or down from the pier, but it looked interesting. To get that scale, I thought about working with fabric. The challenge was: How do I make that?

SCAD: How did students get involved?

CI: When I flew in the Sunday before Sand Arts, Chris Williams had everything from my materials list ready in a classroom in Wallin Hall. Monday through Thursday, 9 to 5, a constant parade of students came through. They were mostly foundations students, but majors I thought would never be interested were really hands-on. Game designers were into it, fashion designers too. A whole bunch of 3D classes got involved. Over 200 students who came and worked on it. It ended up being more collaborative than any project I've ever done. Large groups working at the same time to make it possible. I never get that much help making things!

SCAD: Do you consider the process of unfurling the fabric as part of the artwork itself?

CI: Yes, it's definitely a performative work. It was really interesting to plan the installation, and then to be able to walk through it and sit next to it. Over the course of the day we were chasing the tide down the beach, unfurling each piece of fabric and staking them in the sand. And then we had to undo the work as the tide came back in.

SCAD: Was your piece inspired by the land art movement?

CI: As soon as I started thinking about making the work on the beach I thought of Jeanne-Claude and Christo's "Running Fence." Land art is interesting because it's all connected in terms of site specificity and scale within a landscape.

SCAD: What's the title of your Sand Arts installation?

CI: I wanted to experience it before I named it. It might've been easier to have a name from the beginning, but I didn't know what it was going to be like. I'll let you know!

Cory Imig will return to Savannah when her show opens at the Emerging Gallery at SCAD Museum of Art on August 17.

Congratulations to the Sand Arts 2017 winners!

May
15
2017
By
Tags:

How's that for a peerless pier review? An estimated 500 SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff transformed Tybee Island's South Beach into a salubrious seaside salon at last Friday's 2017 Sand Arts Festival. Casual members of the beach-going public were treated to marvels of collaboration and innovation. Artists competed for cash prizes. Everyone went home safe and sunny. Congratulations, Bees!

SCAD Spirit

Winner: "SCADopoly" by David Harris (B.F.A. graphic design), Haley Nichols (B.F.A. painting), Tallie DuBois (B.F.A. illustration) and Noah Osuna (B.F.A. film and television).

 

SCAD Landmarks

Winner: "Pepe Hall" by Sabrina Shankar (B.F.A. production design) and Ryan Hurley (B.F.A. fibers).

Alumni Choice

Winner: "Untitled" by Elise Aleman (B.F.A. painting), Joseph Gai (B.F.A. animation) and Yeeun Chung (B.F.A. fashion).

 

Sand Castle

Winner: "Acorn Castle" by Megan O'Loughlin (B.F.A. animation), Christina Lohe (B.F.A. animation) and Chanda Shaw (B.F.A. animation).

Runner Up: "Taj Mahal" by Palaash Chaudhary (M.A., industrial design, 2017), Eny Lee Parker (B.F.A., interior design, 2011) and Carson Parker (M.Arch., 2012; B.F.A., architecture, 2011).

 

Sand Relief

Winner: ”Alexander" by Laura Hernandez (B.F.A. industrial design), Cassie Suppes (B.F.A. photography), Brianna Ryan (B.F.A. interior design) and David Aguilera Padron (B.F.A. motion media design).

Runner Up: "Surfing Sammy" by Eduardo Rojas (B.F.A. animation), Moiy van Steenbergen (B.F.A. advertising), Drew Cashin (B.F.A. illustration) and Jack Geiger (B.F.A. animation).

 

Sand Sculpture

Winner: "Zoiberg" by Madison Ellis (B.F.A. motion media design), Samantha Greene (B.F.A. illustration), Julia Chamberlain (B.F.A. animation) and Spencer Kohl (B.F.A. painting).

Runner Up: "Bear and Beehive" by Briana Kerns (B.F.A. advertising) and Manuel Castro Sucre (B.F.A. industrial design).

Air

Winner: "Bee" by Aerial Rouse (B.F.A. graphic design), Karina Smirnova (B.F.A. graphic design) and Arianna Vallenilla (B.F.A. advertising).

Runner Up: “Untitled” by Caitlyn Brault (B.F.A. interactive design and game development), Courtney Smith (B.F.A. sequential art) and Cami Robens (B.F.A. illustration).

Sand Jam

Winner: Tejasvita Negi (B.F.A. animation)
Runner Up: Xiaowen Yang (B.F.A. animation)

Enter Sand Arts

May
11
2017
By
Tags:

Sunblock check! This Friday, May 12, Tybee Island is the place to be. Presented by the School of Foundation Studies, this year’s Sand Arts Festival will take place for the first time ever on South Beach, adjacent to the historic Tybee pier. Witness esteemed alumna Cory Imig (B.F.A., fibers, 2008) unspool a special sculpture of her own creation, while she takes part in mentoring and judging the estimated 200 entrants in this year's festival competition.

In the spirit of superb stewardship, here are five key practices to ensure Sand Arts keeps Tybee in tip-top shape:

1. LEAVE ONLY YOUR FOOTPRINTS BEHIND: Everything you bring in the morning must leave with you at the end of the day. Piling up your trash on the beach next to an already full garbage can doesn't cut it. What you carried in, carry out.
2. DON'T MESS WITH TURTLE NESTS: It's turtle nesting season. Be sensitive to the presence of the turtle nests and stay well away from them. The best way for Tybee's turtles to thrive is to be left alone.
3. NO DOGS ALLOWED: We love dogs. Just not at Sand Arts. Period.
4. STAY OFF THE DUNES: Allow beach nourishment by letting the natural grasses grow in peace. The ecosystem is not designed to support humans tromping on the dunes. 
5. HOP THE BUS: Parking on Tybee is severely limited. Hop the free shuttle bus at Turner House and Oglethorpe house instead. All students will have already received the shuttle schedule via email. Additional information including a parking map and the bus schedule is available here.

Everyone who makes it to Sand Arts is a winner. As far as official prizes go, judging begins about 2:30, and awards will be presented at 3:45. It's going to be a great day. See you there! And remember to "Keep Tybee Tidy"!

Chalk-full of talent: Sidewalk Arts 2017

May
8
2017
By
Tags:

Walkers, chalkers and wide-eyed gawkers came together in Forsyth Park for the 36th iteration of Sidewalk Arts Festival, one of Savannah's finest traditions. A salubrious spring afternoon primed chalk-wielding SCAD students and alumni, as well as highly skilled high school entrants, as they all competed for cash prizes. Juiced by block-rocking beats by Kurdice "DJ PhiveStar" Neal (M.F.A., sound design, 2015), Sidewalk Arts culminated with the announcement of winners shortly after 4 p.m. Enjoy these pictorial highlights from a dazzling day.{[carousel]-[199726]}

Unveiling Jedd Novatt's new SCAD MOA sculpture

May
2
2017
By
Tags:

On a warm evening on the final Friday of April, art aficionados gathered in the SCAD Museum of Art's Alex Townsend Memorial Courtyard as SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace presided over the unveiling of "Chaos Concepción,” a new sculpture by artist Jedd Novatt.

"'Chaos Concepción' arises to lift the eyes and aspirations of all who study and visit here," President Wallace declared. "Jedd Novatt's work conquers gravity, expressing the soul unbound in an eternal echo of hope."

Novatt's sculpture may have cubism and minimalism as precedents, yet the work projects its own peculiarly provocative dynamism. Conjoined notes of strength and vulnerability rise from an ebony plinth. Stainless steel boxes stack at unsettled angles.

As SCAD MOA head curator Storm Janse van Rensburg stated in his opening remarks: "Jedd creates art that challenges our expectations of scale and structure and imbues our environments with undeniable energy. He doesn't just sculpt works, he sculpts the spaces that surround."

An artist whose work is exhibited and collected internationally, Novatt has a connection to SCAD dating to 1980, when he spent a year working and studying in France at the site of what is now SCAD Lacoste. "Chaos Concepción" is the second permanent Jedd Novatt sculpture donated to SCAD, following the installation of "Chaos Mundaka" in the front green of the SCAD Atlanta's Peachtree Street campus. Furthermore, a series of Novatt's monotypes entitled "Chaos Pacific" is on view at SCAD MOA now through June 4.

Any trip to SCAD MOA is a boon. Now, in the courtyard, a new reason has arisen.

Chalk it up this Saturday at Sidewalk Arts 2017

April
27
2017
By
Tags:

Welcome to the greatest chalk show on earth!

This Saturday, April 29, exuberant and art-hearted attendees will flow through bucolic Forsyth Park for the annual SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival, basking in civic comingling, enjoying food and music, and witnessing scintillating chalk art evolve in real time.

The 2017 Sidewalk Arts Festival is the 36th iteration of one of the university's most beloved annual events. So beloved, SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace dedicated a chapter "Sidewalks" in her memoir "The Bee and the Acorn" (Assouline Publishing 2016) to the role Sidewalk Arts has played in the evolution of SCAD.

"None of us could have known that the SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival would go on to become the single largest annual outdoor arts event in Savannah, drawing fifty thousand guests. I'd conceived of it as a one-time event, an experiment, an early sketch to see if anything was there, as fleeting as chalk art, as unlikely as our new college."

Long since relocated from its original location around Madison Square to Forsyth Park, Sidewalk Arts has seen its number of participants increase accordingly. This year, upwards of 900 SCAD students and alumni as well as high school guest artists will create colorful chalk masterpieces and compete for coveted prizes.

The artists represent a wide range of the carefully curated degree programs offered by SCAD, embodying distinct styles, backgrounds, interests, cultures and disciplines, all part of a continuum dating back to the first Sidewalk Arts Festival in 1981. As President Wallace wrote in "The Bee and the Acorn":

"I didn't know it at the time, but a metaphor lived inside this new festival, a seed that would grow up through the garden of our little college and would touch every degree program, where the very rigor of the constraints compelled students to think in new ways. The students had limited space, about three feet by three feet, and an unforgiving surface with an unorthodox and volatile medium, and they had limited time, no more than four or five hours, to make their work."

Those guidelines remain largely unchanged. This year, chalk distribution happens at 10 a.m. and drawing commences an hour later. Prizewinners will be announced and prizes awarded at 4 p.m. As you stroll through the open air art gallery, be on the lookout for Kurdice "DJ PhiveStar" Neal (M.F.A., sound design, 2015) rocking the wheels of steel, a processional of puppets created by Sam Lasseter (B.F.A., sculpture, 2015), and the ensnaring syncopations of SCAD Drumline.

See you Saturday in Forsyth Park!

Design legend Carl Magnusson zeroes in

April
19
2017
By
Tags:

"The discovery of zero is maybe the most important moment in mathematics," declared design master Carl Gustav Magnusson from the stage of the SCAD Museum of Art theater. "Without it there'd be no binary code, no computers, and we wouldn't be here today."

Magnusson was lecturing about the history of design, not programming or mathematics, yet as the image of a zero illuminated the screen behind him, the ovoid's sublime beauty revealed itself afresh. In design terms, it turns out, zero counts for a lot.

Magnusson's presentation — "3,500 Years of Design in 2,000 Seconds Flat!" — was part of the ongoing "Integration" lecture series presented by the SCAD School of Building Arts. Comprised of six connected disciplines — architectural history, architecture, furniture design, interior design, preservation design and urban design — SCAD School of Building Arts provides graduate and undergraduate students with key opportunities for guidance and inspiration from industry luminaries like Magnusson.

As an industrial designer and inventor, Magnusson's resume is as sturdy and stylish as an Eames chair. It should be: He worked with Charles and Ray Eames in the 1960s before becoming director of design at Knoll for three decades. He has received thirty design awards in the past decade, including Contract Magazine's Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2012.

"You can have an innovation, and it can be a millennium before it has an impact," Magnusson said, keying his idea that design exists on a long, spry timeline punctuated by apparent breakthroughs.

Magnusson correlated the medieval Toscano scissor chair with Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich's design for the Barcelona chair circa 1929. He credited da Vinci with inventing the selfie. He pointed out that Vetruvius' "Ten Books on Architecture" was thought lost, only to be rediscovered 1500 years after its composition, when it assumed its rightful place as a cornerstone of architectural theory.

Magnusson's visual projections shifted like the sands of time, awash with iconic glimpses from design history. When an enormous, circular edifice appeared on screen, Magnusson said: "Peter Brueghel was an artist of the people, and here he showed what his conception of the Babel tower looked like. I think Frank Lloyd Wright looked at it and said, ‘If we turn this upside down, we've got a museum.'" A picture of the Guggenheim appeared like a well-timed punchline.

During the Q&A, Magnusson was asked specifically how he sees furniture design changing in the digital age.

"I'm actually shocked in how little furniture design changes," the designer replied. "We design something good, something different, something better, but is it new? How about the inflatable chair from the 1950s? That was something new. Are we still using it? No, it deflated. I think of design as a continuum. I don't think furniture is going to change much. In the digital age, we're immersed in everything from sketching to developing to manufacturing, all that is done digitally. But the furniture itself will not change significantly."

Magnusson's 2,000 seconds were up. He'd covered 3,500 years of design and then some. Zero looked better than ever.

SCAD School of Building Arts "Integration" lecture series continues Tuesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. as William Sofield presents "Designing Places of Memory and Legacy" at SCAD MOA theater.

 

Beyond the seams with Imran Amed

April
14
2017
By
Tags:

Imran Amed may be a visionary, but he claims he doesn’t have a crystal ball.

During Amed’s conversation with SCAD Savannah vice president John Paul Rowan at the SCAD Museum of Art theater, the Business of Fashion founder and SCADstyle 2017 honorary chair resisted the notion that he's a fashion soothsayer.

Amed explained that he could never have predicted the success of his blog, which began as a passion project from his sofa, and has grown into a global media company and a daily must-read for its analysis and interviews, drawing more than a million unique visitors each month.

“Ten years ago, I had no idea I’d be sitting here today,” he said, laughing. Amed’s words resonated with the SCAD students in attendance, all intent on turning passion into profession. SCAD’s thoughtfully curated degree programs in fashion, fashion marketing and management, and luxury and fashion management are all especially attuned to the dynamism of Amed’s industry.

Coolly dressed in a blue-and-red bomber jacket and white sneakers, Amed told students that the “glamour and gloss” that attracts so many to the industry is just that —  the surface. Beneath it lie rich stories waiting to be told and important parts to play. He recommended learning the ropes in a small-business setting before deciding on a focus.

“In order to understand your role, you have to understand all of the fashion business,” he said.

Amed stated his belief that while the “gadgets and gizmos” upending today’s world may be flashy, customers still want to connect with real people and products. He sees brands who chase after every new tech trend — without considering whether it makes sense for their mission — as misguided. Conversely, he praised social media influencers who use their platforms to drive the larger conversation in meaningful ways.

Some students in the audience sported white bandanas on their wrists, the emblem of BoF’s #TiedTogether campaign. Amed launched the initiative to emphasize values of solidarity, unity and inclusiveness after other global fashion companies declined to speak out about intolerance. The #TiedTogether bandanas have been paraded down Fashion Week runways from New York to Milan and London to Paris, raising more than $50,000 for the American Civil Liberties Union and the UN Refugee Agency.

#TiedTogether is another initiative whose popularity blossomed in a way Amed could not have foretold. From launching his blog to developing each new BoF feature — including education, events and career listings — authentic risk-taking has remained his guiding force.

Amed addressed a variety of au courant questions from students on topics ranging from wearable technology and artificial intelligence in retail, to the atomization of Fashion Week and the evolving luxury market. 

“We’re in a time of great disruption in fashion,” Amed said. “That also means we’re in a time of great innovation.”

Rather than attempting to guess the future, Amed advised students to know themselves first.

“What is it that gets you excited, what makes you wonder? Connect your personal passion points with your career,” he said. “That’s where the magic happens.”

Faran Krentcil's ‘Realities of Fashion Media'

April
13
2017
By
Tags:

"When I was coming into the working world, the internet was for nerds," quipped Fashionista founder Faran Krentcil at the start of her SCADstyle lecture "Realities of Fashion Media." "That was certainly the fashion understanding. It was almost as if everyone was scared of the internet. The great thing about that is if people are scared of something, that means there's an opportunity to be had."

Aspiring fashion journalists, designers, marketers and more filled the second floor of SCAD Atlanta's historic Ivy Hall to hear Krentcil speak. She led them through her storied background to where she is today: a successful New York City-based writer and editor whose regular bylines include ELLE, Glamour and W. Her talk epitomized the top-line insights offered by the roster of guests at SCADstyle 2017, as well as SCAD as the preeminent source of visionary fashion degree programs.

Having founded Fashionista in 2007, Krentcil set the tone for that site's popular mix of commentary, breaking news and human-interest content. Subsequently Nylon magazine's first digital director from 2008 to 2014, Krentcil understands the online fashion landscape. She has collaborated with brands including Tiffany & Co., Marc Jacobs, Topshop and Diane von Furstenberg, and is a Tumblr fashion ambassador. With this almost overwhelmingly impressive resume, thankfully Krentcil wove relatable life mishaps into her talk.

"I came from a fantastic family. What I did not come from was a place where I could move to New York and work for free. So, I tutored middle school girls and made enough money to go to New York for a couple of months, right after college, on my own. Even though I didn't realize it, I was learning how girls' brains work and the cultural limitations of what they thought they could and couldn't do. That summer spent tutoring still informs the work I do in women's media today."

The lecture wrapped with a thorough Q&A, Krentcil peppering her responses with valuable advice. What does she consider essential reading? Forbes and The New York Times business section. What was the defining moment when she knew that Fashionista was going to be successful? She just never imagined that it wouldn't be.

To a room full of SCAD students anticipating their own creative careers, Krentcil emphasized: "That saying about opportunity being preparation and luck coming together? It's true."