News

Wearable Art at the Peabody Essex Museum

Calling all fans of wearable art! Here's a show that you won't want to miss, the blockbuster WOW® World of WearableArtTM  will open at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem Massachusetts on February 18 and will run through June 1, 2017. The interactive show features 32 pieces from the permanent collection of the WOW® World of WearableArtTM competition, the largest wearable art design competition in the world.

 

WOW at PEM

If you're not familiar with the WOW® World of WearableArtTM phenomenon here's a bit of background; now in its 25th year, WOW® is a New Zealand cultural event that combines a design competition component with hundreds of entrants each year from around the world, and a grand finale live runway show for winners that is attended in Wellington, NZ by over 50,000 people.

WOW World of WearableArt at the Peabody Essex Museum

 

Submissions for the competition come from sculptors, fabric artists, costume designers, and makers of all types. According to the WOW site, designers are encouraged to "get art off the walls and onto the body" and 'anything that is in any way wearable can find a place on stage, as long as it is original, beautifully designed and well-made'.

The show is guaranteed to be highly entertaining and engaging. Here's a brief overview of what to expect: 32 award-winning garments from the permanent WOW® collection, integrated audio visual presentation, integrated dynamic mobile app, STQRY, interactive workroom, designer floor talks and an exhaustive deep dive into the world of wearable art on opening day. And don't forget the gift shop! There will be a hefty exhibition catalogue, exhibition specific merchandise and Brazil's Escama Studio recycled bags, accessories and recycled pop top clothing will be available in the shop. 

World of Wearable Art at the PEM Gift Shop

 

WOW® World of WearableArtTM is presented in partnership with the New Zealand government. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support. The East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum also provided support.

 

More information can be found here:

Peabody Essex Press Release

World Of Wearable Art Design Competition

Submit Designs to the WOW World of Wearable Art

Nick Cave Sound Suit Video

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January 06, 2017

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Advanced Style In The Age of Conformity

"Fashion is what you're offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose." —Lauren Hutton

Advanced Style, is a light-hearted fashion blog that describes itself as 'capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set'. Unlike other street style blogs such as The Sartorialist , Advanced Style is devoted to fashion for women over 60. The blog's founder, Ari Seth Cohen has a lifelong affinity to his elders and explained the blog's inspiration simply as “I wanted to show that you can be stylish, creative and vital at any age.” The blog (and now movie) features street portraits of stylish women over 60 who despite their age continue to regard fashion as a core part of their life. The blog has gained fans among designers and creative directors and has inspired ad campaigns for Lanvin, Karen Walker, Coach, Kmart and has helped land modeling gigs for some of it's over 60 fashionistas.

In addition to its great portrait photography, Advanced Style is thought provoking for it's ethos and underlying social commentary. There's no reason to look the way people expect you to look, regardless of your age. The anxiety over aging is created by perceptions in society and media. It's reassuring to see Cohen's older fashionistas so self assured, unapologetic and having such a good time.

Advanced Style for Karen Walker eye ware

 Read brilliant May 2016 interview with Ari Seth Cohen from Augustus Britton on the Need Supply Co. website.

Fair Trade In Japan: Love & Sense

Fair trade fashion is a relatively small but growing market segment in North America and Europe. But what is the situation of fair trade fashion in other markets? Here in the West we rarely hear about the market for fair trade products in Japan.

Today we're interviewing our friend, Tamae Takatsu to find out how things are developing there. Tamae manages a series of pop up retail shops called Love & Sense and also has experience serving on the board of OXFAM in Japan. She has been promoting and advocating for fair trade for over 10 years.

Tamae Takatsu, Fair Trade Advocate in Japan

Tamae Takatsu, CEO of Fukuichi Co.,Ltd.

Escama: Hello Tamae! You have a unique approach to selling fair trade products, you're selling in Hankyu department store and to some of the most exclusive department stores in Japan. How do you do it? It would be difficult to pitch a fair trade themed pop up shop to Neiman Marcus, is Japan completely different?

Tamae: This is my own approach. Fair trade products in Japan are generally not positioned as high-end, or luxury items. I decided to take the 'path of most resistance'.

Escama Studio bags are available at Takashimaya

An early Love & Sense pop up shop in Takashimaya

Escama: The 'path of most resistance'? I like that! What exactly do you mean?

Tamae: More than 10 years ago, I was involved in establishing OXFAM Japan. I had the notion that the organization should retail fair trade products because I knew that OXFAM UK included product retailing among their activities. It turned out that it was difficult to do in Japan with some problems including the quality of the products. In those days, I gave up the idea to be involved in fair-trade, and ultimately I ended up running the shops by myself. I started to plan how to target a luxury market, an affluent clientele with high quality, high style products. That is what I mean by the path of most resistance.  

Escama: But how did you follow the path of most resistance and actually end up in Takashimaya, Isetan, and Hankyu department stores? That's impressive.

Escama Bags In Isetan Department Store

Ground floor pop up shop at Isetan, the most popular store in Japan.

Tamae: It took many years, it didn't happen overnight. Early in my career, in the early 1990s, I had my own marketing company and my clients were department stores. I advised them with matters concerning merchandising, marketing and promotions. So I had connections with decision makers and I understood the culture of department stores. This was important but it was not the only factor.

Escama: What was your first exposure to fair trade and how did you start your first pop up?

Tamae: I became exposed to fair trade in 1998 and started to research artisan-made products on my own. I contacted the company People Tree and participated in their fair trade study tour to India in 2000. I gradually developed the theme for the store, (Love & Sense), started identifying products and made contacts with artisan groups. Then I arranged meetings with decision makers in department stores to convince them that fair trade was something that must be done. I told them that fair trade is necessary for other parts of the world. If we have marketing influence then we need to work with poor countries to increase fair trade.

Escama and Tamae in Sankei newspaper

 

National newspaper Sankei with circulation of 500,000 readers, covered the retail store Love & Sense, Tamae's business Fukuichi Co.,Ltd. and the fair trade movement for five straight days.

Escama: Did you convince them?

Tamae: Back then no. It wasn't time. But sometimes opportunities come by themselves. In 2006 the head of LOFT department store asked me if I knew anyone who could make a pop up shop in his store. I thought about it and decided 'I can do it'! I didn't have any experience doing a retail store. It was a disaster! No sales. The only sale was when my assistant bought a bar of chocolate. But the display was beautiful and we took lots of photos. Not long after that, a friend introduced Love & Sense to Omotesando Hills shopping center. It is one of the most elite shopping destinations in Tokyo. (Customers arrive there in Rolls Royce with chauffeurs, that kind of thing). It was a miracle! Our pop up shop was a hit in one of the best places in Tokyo. Because Omotesando Hills shopping center is so highly regarded, it opened the door for Love & Sense. Ever since then we have opportunities for pop up shops in department stores all over.

Escama: I love to hear stories like this! So for 10 years you have sold fair trade to the most affluent market segment in Japan. Do you have a feeling for how this has impacted Japanese views towards fair trade? 

Tamae: In Japan, the biggest impact comes from famous shopping areas, never from the bazaars. Japanese people are insular and don't think about the outside world. So when famous department stores like Takashimaya, Isetan, or Mitsukoshi create promotions themed "I Love The Earth," "Global Green Campaign," it helps raise awareness from the top down.

10 Years ago I created the company Love & Sense to help promote fair trade in Japan. In 2006 we conducted a market research survey with 1,000 respondents and asked questions relating to fair trade awareness. Only 1% of people had any concept of fair trade, only 3% had heard the word. In 2015, according to the survey conducted by another organization, 50% of respondents had heard the word 'fair trade' and about 30% knew some of the concepts. Awareness of fair trade is becoming known in Japan through mass media. I have been doing media outreach for about 10 years and there's a growing interest in fair trade among Japanese people. Escama Studio metal tote bag in Japan

 Media outreach is another key to Tamae's success.

Escama: What's next for Love & Sense?

Tamae: Big things are happening in May 2016. A fair trade 'Ethical Week' promotion in Hankyu Department Store, the most popular department store in Osaka will run through May 10. The location of the promotion will be in the highest traffic area of the store and there will be many other smaller fair trade pop up shops, each with their own unique theme.

Escama: For more information about Hankyu, visit the link >> 

Hanyu Department Store

Escama Studio @ISRI Convention 2016

Just in time for Earth Day, Escama Studio will be attending the annual convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, April 2-7. ISRI has been super supportive of Escama Studio to attend the event and they've been fans of our recycled aluminum handbags for some time. We've never been involved in this type of a forum before and it's possible that conference attendees will be scratching their heads wondering why we're there --  ISRI members are manufacturers and processors, brokers and industrial consumers of scrap metals, paper, electronics, rubber, plastics, glass, and textiles. But who knows, maybe the people who truly understand the material in our recycled aluminum purses will be big fans! Either way, we're thrilled to have a chance to meet so many people who are involved in the industry and it's bound to be a great place to learn and network.

So if you happen to be attending ISRI 2016 or if you just happen to be in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay please stop by and say hello. We'll be in the lobby, dressed in this recycled aluminum Valkyrie outfit. (Joking)

Escama at the Dali Museum

This special exhibition highlights M.C. Escher, a renowned artist, whose visual illusions puzzle and delight audiences worldwide, and is best known for his “impossible constructions” and use of tessellation. The robust exhibit features 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including an array of his most recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain, original preparatory sketches, mezzotints and more.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with that fundamental question of visual art – What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with his visual sleights of hand,” said Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director.

“Escher at the Dali” features prints, drawings, a sculpture, wood blocks, a lithograph stone and posters drawn by the artist to explain his printing techniques. The exhibit will delve into his exploration of infinity through tessellation, in which shapes fit together perfectly without overlapping, including an enormous woodcut “Metamorphosis” (1939-40) which spans 13-1/2 feet.

- See more at: http://thedali.org/exhibit/escher/#sthash.Hdhc0c3h.dpuf

This special exhibition highlights M.C. Escher, a renowned artist, whose visual illusions puzzle and delight audiences worldwide, and is best known for his “impossible constructions” and use of tessellation. The robust exhibit features 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including an array of his most recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain, original preparatory sketches, mezzotints and more.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with that fundamental question of visual art – What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with his visual sleights of hand,” said Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director.

“Escher at the Dali” features prints, drawings, a sculpture, wood blocks, a lithograph stone and posters drawn by the artist to explain his printing techniques. The exhibit will delve into his exploration of infinity through tessellation, in which shapes fit together perfectly without overlapping, including an enormous woodcut “Metamorphosis” (1939-40) which spans 13-1/2 feet.

- See more at: http://thedali.org/exhibit/escher/#sthash.Hdhc0c3h.dpuf

This special exhibition highlights M.C. Escher, a renowned artist, whose visual illusions puzzle and delight audiences worldwide, and is best known for his “impossible constructions” and use of tessellation. The robust exhibit features 135 works covering Escher’s entire artistic career, including an array of his most recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain, original preparatory sketches, mezzotints and more.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with that fundamental question of visual art – What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with his visual sleights of hand,” said Hank Hine, Dali Museum Executive Director.

- See more at: http://thedali.org/exhibit/escher/#sthash.Hdhc0c3h.dpuf

 

Escher at the Dali Museum

Escama products are now selling at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. This is a big deal for us. It's our dream to be in museums, especially the architecturally stunning Dali. Our bags should fit well with the current exhibition on M.C. Escher. Escher's work frequently uses 'tessellation'  (a word that means 'a repeating pattern of geometric shapes'). Escama handbags also have this repetitive overlapping pattern of geometric shapes.

The Escher show opened at the Dali Museum in August  and will run through January 3, 2016. It will be followed by the exhibition Disney & Dali: Architects of the Imagination,  a great show that recently ran in San Francisco at the Disney Museum.

M.C. Escher, is best known for his “impossible constructions”, or visual illusion puzzles. The exhibition is on loan from the Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, and features 135 works covering Escher’s entire career. The show includes his most famous works such as “Drawing Hands,” “Reptiles” and “Waterfall” alongside rarely exhibited early drawings of family members, panoramas of exotic landscapes and historic architecture of Italy and Spain.

Escher, like Dali, played in a serious way with the fundamental question of visual art -- What is real? Is the world as it looks to be, or have I constructed an illusion in my mind? Escher delights every viewer with this incredible detail, superb visual perception and skilled hand. Tessellation: Escher and Escama handbags


 

Escama Studio bags are available at Dali Museum Ft. Lauderdale FL

The Gift Shop at the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL
 

The Dali Museum's stunning new facility opened in 2011 and has a glorious 5,000 sq. ft. store. It has the largest collection of Dali’s work in the world outside of Spain. 85% of the merchandise in the store is custom-made and is directly related to images in the collection. Escama Studio is honored to be selected to be a featured product in this great gift shop.

A Sustainable Life in Art & Fashion

Sara Basehart is a friend of ours who has a colorful life that's rich in art, fashion and creativity. From her home, to her business and her art, re-purposing and recycling plays a role in everything she does. And it's done with panache. Hers is a story that we had to share it on the blog.

Hi Sara, thank you for talking with us!

Escama: You live in Taos, NM. What’s it like? It seems like it has its own thing going on, far removed from the hipster circuit of Portland, Austin, San Francisco, Brooklyn. How do you describe Taos?

Sara: Taos is unique in many ways. Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains it’s a mesa crossed by deep gorges and sagebrush, with a sky so wide open the sunsets often empty restaurants. Diners are drawn outside to stare at the sky in amazement as it fills with colors too intense to describe with mere words. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, we still see enough snow that our ski valley is world famous. Culturally, we are diverse with strong influences from the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and creative influences from Spain, Mexico, and over a hundred years of being an art colony. But my favorite thing about Taos is how it is so genuine, so real, in a world where so many people feel stifled, Taos sets you free to be anything you can imagine.

Escama: Sounds like someplace that we need to visit. Is that where you’re originally from or did it pull you in?

Sara: I am originally from Oxford, Mississippi. If there was an opposite to Taos this might be it. I grew up as a reluctant southerner in a community that really wished I would just stop being so weird. Luckily, my mom saw the creative potential in me and always encouraged me to embrace opportunity. A year abroad in high school changed my life when I realized there was a whole world out there. I got back off that plane in MS with a blue Mohawk and a big smile on my face as my small town collectively had an aneurysm at the sight of me. I knew then that I’d be leaving the South behind. It took until after college, but I stumbled into Taos, NM in 1991 and it was like coming home. Hard to describe it, but imagine an inexplicable desire to weep with joy because you are so alive, so happy, so overwhelmed with the potential of each new day…I still feel that way after 24 years.

Trashion in Taos, NM

Escama: You have your own shop there, Seconds Eco Store. Do you have a particular fascination with recycled things?

Sara: My husband and I built our own home out on the mesa west of Taos. It is called an earthship- an off grid house constructed of recycled materials. They are common in this area, and there are hundreds of them the world over. Instead of trying to explain them, I’ll just say you can find more information at www.earthship.com. So, we spent years building our beautiful recycled house and as we grew up and had babies I stopped working my more conventional jobs and began crafting at home and costuming for our local schools. At some point I had an epiphany that I should be doing everything with recycled materials and it caused an explosion of creativity in my life. The concept of my store started as a secret dream, one I talked of only to my husband always starting with “Someday…” After 9 years of dreaming about it, I finally found the right space to pursue it and now we are in our 6th year of business!

Escama: Your shop, Seconds Eco sells cool recycled products but you also have a broader mission with your shop, an educational component?

Sara:Our mission is to bring the fun back into being green. To help people see that recycled also means clean new products made from old materials. We also have a strong element of solar power to many items in the store, from solar toys and lights to radiometers and solar chargers. Ideally we’d like to do crafting classes and workshops, but haven’t gotten that far yet. I realized soon after opening that the administrative duties of keeping a store open and running would severely limit my crafting time, and one of the ways I deal with that is to teach people how to make the things I wish I had time to do, provide them with the materials, and then buy back the finished product. That way we can spread a little bit of our success around our community and enable people to make a little side income when they have complicated lives.

Escama: Now comes the big question…. Your interest in recycling doesn’t stop there, you also create fashion out of trash (“trashion”), right?

Upcycled Dress at Seconds Eco Store

Sara: In Taos there has been a recycled runway called The Glam Trash Fashion Show since 2001. I used to watch it every year and think “I really want to do that! But I’m too busy.” Then, finally, in 2012 I participated in my first show. It was incredible! I found that my costuming background combined with my varied crafting skills gave me a special ability to make pretty much anything I could think up. At this point I am now one of the main organizers of our annual runway, and it is the highlight of my year. The dress I made last year is in a museum in Albuquerque and my new dress is in my store downtown in Taos being actively worked on right now! Finding a hidden talent within myself as an adult has been inspirational and quite a lot of fun.

Escama: That’s awesome. When I was a kid in elementary school I glued macaroni bow tie pasta to a Cambell’s soup can and then spray painted it silver. (it’s a family heirloom and who knows, it may have been the earliest inspiration for Escama Studio). Do you have one thing that you can remember that got you interested in creating fashion from trash, ‘trashion’?

Sara: It was watching all the creativity on the runway at the Glam Trash Fashion Show. In a town full of artists, you can imagine the incredible outfits. It was inspiring and intimidating at the same time. I had always altered my clothing, ever since I learned to sew when I was around 8 years old, and I always made my own Halloween costumes too, but creating high couture in unexpected alternative materials wasn’t on my list until watching the GTFS.

Trashion at Seconds Eco Store, Taos NM

Escama: I did a Google search on the word ‘trashion’ and I was amazed to see that there are ‘trashion’ fashion shows and contests all over the place – from Hawaii to Alaska and even in New Zealand and Calcutta! How deep into it are you? Do you just do the Trashion show in Taos NM or do you also travel and compete?

 Sara: At this point, I do try to make one outstanding piece and compete within NM in order to try and win cash prizes to bring home and use as cash prizes in our own contest. I’m sure it would make more sense to most people to write grants and apply for donations or something, but I don’t know how to do that. Last year I managed to win $1000 in varied contests. And I did try to apply for the world famous World of Wearable Art contest in New Zealand, but I filled out the application last minute as I was boarding a plane to Mexico for an adventure and I was disqualified because I rushed and didn’t follow all the application instructions. I still had a great time in Mexico though!

Escama: I’ve heard of the Art Car Parade in Houston (we sell to the Beer Can House / Orange Show Center for the Visual Arts) is there any overlap with ‘Trashion’ fashion people and Art Car people??

Sara: That, I do not know. Not here anyways.

Escama: Where are some of the ‘must go’ places / events in the world of ‘Trashion’?

Sara: I’m still a small town girl. I would have to say Taos’ Glam Trash Fashion Show is the best one ever, anywhere. But that’s just my opinion.

Escama: Okay, finally, can you share some of the best ‘Trashion’ pieces that you have created, or show some outstanding pieces that you have seen?

Sara: With pleasure! These are all mine, but there are many, many incredible outfits all over the internet by artists from all over the world.

The Finished Dress

Thanks Sara!!

Wearable Art, 'Glam Trash' in Taos, NM

Taos, New Mexico has a well deserved reputation as a free spirited creative community. Last weekend they blocked off streets and created a runway for the 'Glam Trash Fashion Show', a community celebration of wearable art and 'trashion' (trash fashion). My friend in Taos, Sara Basehart, sent me an email today with this cool video of the event, take a look!

Sara has a shop in Taos called Seconds Eco Store. Seconds is our most unique customer: they're a retailer of Escama bags AND they're our un-official repair shop! Missing a zipper? Got a loose thread? Sara and her friends at Seconds Eco have helped us refurbish numerous damaged bags. (Sara is actually in the video, "I'm the one with the horns and the swagger")

If you're looking for ideas for your next 'trashion' creation? Click on the video below. You can also see photos of the event on the Glam Trash Facebook page

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