Arts + Culture » Visual Art

Three decades of wear-withal

The anniversary of the student-run Wearable Art Show proves there’s more to fashion than getting dressed.

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Forget Next in Fashion: These show participants and contributors know what's next in art, too. - IAN SELIG
  • IAN SELIG
  • Forget Next in Fashion: These show participants and contributors know what's next in art, too.

The Wearable Art Show
Feb 28, 6-8pm & 9-11pm The Bus Stop Theatre,
2203 Gottingen Street $10/$20


I n the mental space between haute couture and your best outfit—somewhere between the wardrobe changes on a Madonna tour and a well-accessorized variety show—rest the knotty, throbbing aspirations of the Wearable Art Show. "The first time I saw the show I was a little first-year baby at NSCAD and thought this is the funnest show I have ever seen done. It's a magical place to watch people create these strange experiences onstage," show co-ordinator Angela Fournier says. They're sitting in fashion studio S304 at NSCAD, surrounded by four of their best friends, pinned sketches of outfits, late morning sunlight and a half-dozen mannequins covered in fabric folds that look like a hydrangea that sprouted sleeves.

It takes Fournier and their fellow show co-ordinators Sienna Maeba and Jessie McLaughlin a few tries to explain what, exactly, the Wearable Art Show is: "It's not so crisp, clean and timed perfectly like the fashion show we have at the end of the year. It's so fun and free and everyone is just putting out what they want to put out," offers Maeba.

A series of vignettes, weighed equally by performance and what the performer is wearing, the show calls to mind the best of what a runway show can be. (Think Alexander McQueen's mid-'90s return to London Fashion Week, showing couture with models stomping over rotting produce.) It's also a student-run traipse through multi-disciplinary work that favours feeling over narrative.

"It started out in the drawing room of the school, by students," McLaughlin begins.

IAN SELIG
  • IAN SELIG

"We're calling it the 30-ish anniversary show. It started in the late '80s, early '90s, and it was a show that began to create AIDS awareness in Halifax. It was originally put on by the Queer Collective of NSCAD," Fournier adds. "It has this very rich history of being a show that came together where people could have just, have a complete celebration but also be talking about something very real and I think that's the place it's always lived."

Show performers Pamela Juarez and Miriam Behman, sitting next to Fournier, giggle when explaining the late-night, drag-informed feel of the show, promising numbers rich with vinyl and leather. "My fantasy is endless fringe," Behman says. Juarez has been learning to weld for her contribution to the show. "The Wearable Art Show, there are no rules," she continues. "I think fashion is a term that's very loaded, but 'wearable art' opens it to be something."

IAN SELIG
  • IAN SELIG

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