The circular fashion expo is the premier fashion event at the University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign.
These were our two runway submissions for the design contest portion of the event.
"Who Burns, Who Mends?" - Winner of Judge's Choice (Grand Prize)
"Who burns, Who mends?":
Recently inspired by semiotics, and how a group of individuals interprets a set of symbols, we wanted to challenge the context of an American flag. Specifically, how the flags advertised ideology of truth and justice is often manipulated in a broader context to fit negative agendas. It has been clear that the symbolism of a flag has been diluted.
Making that dilution tangible through our piece was something that was important to us during the process of its creation. It became clear that the goal was to make a physical conversation.
Our model is silenced by a mask of false truth, aided in disguise by the symbolism of her garment. As the eyes continue reading, embroidery and patchwork hold together what is left of a flag, manipulated by those who seek shelter behind its false promise. At the end of our dialogue, a trail of ash and open seams expose the damaged integrity of a nation led astray.
While working, a realization was found in our work: As we held the brittle fibers of aged Americana in our hands, burning, then mending its exterior, we asked ourselves: who will continue either practice? Who will continue to hold a flame to “truth and justice” and be perpetrators of the violence we condone, and who will work to mend a flag's reputation of those same ideals? It seemed as though our own work mimicked the polarity of American politics, a clear distinction, in our eyes, between good and evil, and what will be the outcome of both.
Aside from its political dialogue, “Who Burns? Who Mends?” is the pinnacle of technical ability.
The Haute Couture look was constructed using 3 separate vintage American flags, ranging in age from 60-75 years old between them.
After the dress's construction, which was assisted by the help of a bust and a live model, the garment was laid on a table to begin the arduous task of embellishing its exterior and reinforcing its delicacy.
The dress was laid across a table with surgeons on either side, exercising every technique at their disposal in unison: hand-stitching, patchworking, flame-mending, boro, sashiko, darning, embroidery, and several others.
With a total combined effort of 80 hours between two workers, we are proud to showcase this piece as the most ambitious and exemplary piece of work under Bad For Your Health.
"Water Once A Week" - Winner of Most Unique Material Upcycled (Sub-Category)
“Water Once A Week”:
“Water Once A Week” is the outcome of several hours of botanical research. All the greenery on the exterior of the garments are living.
The base consists of sheet moss that has been cut and patterned to be proportional. The jacket, consisting of two upcycled garments, was sprayed with a mixture of fertilizer and water, allowing for the moss to be cultivated on its exterior.
After hand-sewing the sheet moss panels, Sweetheart Ivy was planted in the back pockets of the jacket. The pockets hold soil and additional fertilizer.
Each individual strand of the ivy was separated and simple-weaved throughout the lateral sides of the sleeves. Finally, a detachable back compartment houses a Hoya Carnosa. In total, the assimilation of the plant life and the garments took 60 hours to complete.
Care instructions are as follows:
Keep garments in bright indirect sunlight
Mist moss daily
Water Sweetheart Ivy once a week
Water Hoya Carnosa every other week
Do not iron or wash
Looks were modeled by our friends: Norman and Najmah.
We want to thank both of them for facilitating our art.