Arts + Culture » Culture

Fashion ain’t easy

NSCAD’s annual fashion show is sleep-depriving, challenging, exhausting and totally worth it. by Jessica Flower

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Becky Gartner's work (left) is an ode to the natural world, Stephanie Rybczyn’s collection is an exploration of the mourning process - JENNIFER MURPHY
  • Jennifer Murphy
  • Becky Gartner's work (left) is an ode to the natural world, Stephanie Rybczyn’s collection is an exploration of the mourning process

College students, current and former, are used to “camping out” in libraries, pulling all-nighters during the final term push. But Becky Gartner is taking it to the next level. In preparation for NSCAD’s senior fashion show, *Thaw*, the fourth-year student loaded up her trusty Dodge Caravan with a mattress, pillows and sheets and parked it near the NSCAD fashion studios for the week, ready for a nap or two (if she finds the time). Her commitment to her collection is understandable. She’s making her entire collection from scratch—everything from dying the wools and silks, to weaving them in intricate double sided patterned fabrics, to drafting patterns to sewing the final pieces. If it sounds like a hell of a lot of work, that’s because it is. “About a week ago, this silk I was dying felted badly—I don’t know what happened but it turned into silk dreadlocks. I was about 20 hours in and I had to start all over again. But it’s fine, I’ll just stay in my van, you know?”

Gartner’s collection centers on her love for camping and all-things natural, without being overtly eco—it’s wearable art. “Textiles are an exciting tool to make art. Its ties to craft are so strong—it’s fun to break them.” Gartner’s dedication to the final show is shared by the other students. “There are a lot of very-late-nighters,” said Stephanie Rybczyn, a fellow textile student. Rybczyn’s collection is an exploration of the mourning process, prompted by her own journey after her father passed away last year. “It’s a completely self-centered project. I’m channelling myself through the needle. It’s been a very organic process—I’ve let [the collection] become whatever it is in the moment.” Rybczyn’s collection has changed drastically since the original designs. What started off as a “hairy straight-jacket” has evolved into an asymmetrically draped open weave chunky knit—the black and white palette and use of woven fibres are all that remain constant. While the fashion show process might be an exhaustive one, both Gartner and Rybczyn say it’s been a worthwhile process. And, besides, camping in a van in downtown Halifax is totally like a mini-vacation, right?


Thaw
Saturday April 18 at 7pm
NSCAD Port Campus, 1107 Marginal Road
$10 or $15 at the door

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