We are stunned and overjoyed! Escama Studio has been chosen as Best In Show by Fashion Industry leader WWD. In their Wednesday, February 26 2014 edition, Women's Wear Daily's West Coast Bureau Chief, Marcy Medina chose Escama Studio as Best In Show in her Accessories the Show LV wrap up report. Click the image below and scroll to page 9 for the complete wrap-up report. Escama Studio is chosen Best In Show under the report for Accessories the Show. And THAT is kind of a big deal !!!
The 'Wing of Bahia' is considered one of the most important of the samba schools. Made of up ladies dressed in clothes reminiscent of old aunties from Bahia, the Wing of Bahia was introduced in the parade in the 1930s as a form of tribute to women "aunts" of samba, samba dancers that practiced in their homes at the time when the peace was marginalized. Today the Ala das Baianas is a must in every ward parades of samba schools.
It's Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro and Carnival is already in full swing. The annual Sambadrome spectacle begins tomorrow. What is Sambadrome? It's the annual Carnival competition of Rio's top samba dance crews. Costumes, floats, synchronized dancing, music, drumming, 85,000 spectators packed into a stadium under lights. When people outside of Brazil think 'Carnival' the images that come to mind are samba. Here's a taste
San Franciscans are big on recycling. Blue bins for recyclables, green compost bins for food scraps, brown bins for garbage destined for landfill. Still, according to the Department of the City and County of San Francisco, 4,500 pounds of textiles go to local landfills ever hour. Now as part of it's plan to reach zero waste by 2020, San Francisco is partnering with Goodwill and other local businesses to keep used clothing out of landfills. Unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories, linens are processed to make insulation for buildings and other materials for building and industrial applications.
It’s been a few years since fashion designer Chris March appeared on Season 4 of Project Runway but he still can’t walk down a street in New York without someone stopping him. With his appearance on the TV reality show, his own Bravo show Mad Fashion, and his recent partnership with Target, he's gained exposure, fame, and jobs. But he’s still plugging away at fashion design and he’s game for all kinds of off-beat projects. We’re happy to have Chris to interview for our blog.
Wear your vegetables: Dress made of lettuce
Escama: Do you consider yourself primarily a fashion designer of apparel? In your career what do you aspire to be?
CM: I consider myself a costume and fashion designer. I first started out making costumes; I designed crazy gigantic hats for the stage production, Beach Blanket Babylon that has been running forever in San Francisco. It was a lot of fun and I did it for years but I had to come to New York.
Escama: How did you get into Project Runway?
CM: I was doing a promotion for Wishbone Salad Dressing in Grand Central Station. There was a catwalk with models dressed in outfits that I had designed in vegetables, skirts made out of lettuce. It was a new product launch – Wishbone salad dressing in a spray form. The emcee of the show was Tim Gunn of Project Runway and he came up to me afterwards and said that I should try out. That I HAD to try out (!)
Escama: I heard that your grand finale on Project Runway was a collection of dresses made of human hair.
CM: Yes, that was the final project. A lot of the things that I do are lighthearted and fun. But my sensibility is much darker than most of the projects that I’m known for. The collection made with human hair definitely stopped people in their tracks but it wasn’t gratuitous. I liked a lot of the qualities and texture of that medium.
Project Runway final 3: crocheted dresses made with human hair
Escama: You had a great run of successes after Project Runway, you designed Meryl Streep’s dress for the Golden Globes and the Oscars in 2010. That must have been immensely satisfying, right?
CM: It was frankly pretty surreal. I got to go to Meryl’s apartment for a fitting (yes, I call her Meryl). Then I went back to my hovel in Hell’s Kitchen and made the dresses at my kitchen table. Hahahaha! Yes, it was very satisfying. It was (and will always be) a high point.
The Devil Wears Chris March
Escama: With this recognition do you think that you might consider designing for a fashion house?
CM: Well, never say never. But frankly, in the current world of fashion it’s hard to be creative and successful as a designer at a fashion house. The fate of fashion school graduates -- recent graduates who are fresh out of design school – is working long hours for not much money. It’s commerce rather than art. It might even be easier to support yourself as a costume designer rather than a fashion designer.
Escama: Is 'Fast Fashion' dead? What is your take on trends like ‘fast fashion’ and ‘sustainable fashion’?
Chris: Well when the economy is lousy and a lot of people are hard up for cash, there’s obviously some appeal to an H&M trench coat that is advertised for $15.00. $15.00!!! It looks great but how many times can you wear it out in the rain before it melts? ‘Fast fashion’ is going to be the clothing equivalent of IKEA: it’ll be the training wheels that everybody starts out on. But if more money comes into your pocket you’ll want an upgrade. People buy into a lot of tried and true brands because it’s aspirational – they want the association with all the prestige that comes with the brand. I tend to think of ‘sustainable fashion’ in a couple of ways – sustainable in the sense that it’s built to last. And secondly sustainable because thought has gone into the way the apparel was manufactured; by whom and with what ingredients. If high end designers care enough to create things sustainably then the people who aspire to owning these high end designs will follow. Hard to say who is in the lead and who is following; is it the designers giving the people what they demand or are the people catching up to the designers’ direction to sustainability...
Here is a design story that recently caught our attention. A London-based design studio called Studio Swine relocated to Brazil for several months and created housewares from discarded and recycled materials. One of the collections called 'Can City' involved creating a 'mobile forge' for smelting recycled aluminum right on the streets of Sao Paulo.
Recycling aluminum in Brazil is carried out (literally) by groups of organized scrap collectors known as Catadores who gather scrap aluminum and then sell it to local recycling centers. It appears that Studio Swine got hooked up with the Catadores to get the raw scrap aluminum for this project which was sponsored by Heineken beer.
A bit of back story: the name Studio Swine has nothing to do with pigs, it stands for 'Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Exploration' and it's world-renowned design collaborative made up Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves. Having read a few things about Studio Swine online, it looks like a common thread that runs through many of their projects is that they want to create beautifully designed pieces using recycled / cast off materials and they also want to create their tools from scrap (like their mobile forge made from scrap). For crafty types they've offered a few free designs from their website. http://studioswine.com/projects
Sao Paulo Collection: Image credit Studio Swine
In her young career as a fashion designer, Angel Chang has collaborated with top fashion houses using high tech materials to create futuristic fashion collections. It's interesting to see that over the past couple years she has gone very deep in the opposite direction, delving into the ancient craft traditions of the indigenous Miao and Dong tribes in China' Guizhou Province. Working with translators, seeking out traditional craftspeople, and living off the grid she has been able to put together sustainable fashion collections that use all traditional processes and traditional craft techniques. She describes her collection as “1,000 years of ancient craftsmanship reinterpreted into modern design.”