to the Left
291 Gallery, 291 Hackney Road
13th August 2005, 20:00
A strange conical hat and cape ensemble sported by Hugo Ball at a poetry
recital. A kettle worn as a handbag by a Manchester art punk. Art has
often converged with the human body in strange new ways through the medium
of fashion. The polar opposite of architecture, this meeting point has
never been about totality fashion is about heterogeneity, mixing
and matching, modifying and diluting the absolute language of advertising
and branding. A temporary, shape-shifting medium intended for recycling
and manipulation, it has no time for the monumental but all the time in
the world for sewing sequins.
Looking beyond the derogatory theoretical concepts that look to shame
"fashion", and towards its role in the renaissance of craft
As technology conspires to liberate us from the shackles of manual labour
(only to handcuff us to the keyboards and mice of the new slavemasters),
we start to think about designing our own shackles, maybe in a nice grey
wool knit. The labour of love and the hate of labour seem to coexist and
coincide. Painstaking processes are reawakened with post-Marxist pleasures
at stake. If Top Shop offers teen girls a truly democratic adaptation
of high-design ideas for the mass market, we take on the high street with
an ardent D.I.Y. spirit, customising, bastardising and personalising,
establishing our own place within this democracy.
Fashion is once more about making and not following.
Denouncing (sex and the city-esque) fashion consumption as empowering/self
expressive and replacing this with empowerment by the handmade, Turn to
the Left is a showcase of fashion projects, an opportunity to show ideas
that lurk in the dark no mans land that stretches from art to fashion.
Between the extremes of total wearability and pure concept, a platform
for everything from performative stagewear and one-off designs to hand-crafted
artefacts and accessories, reclaiming the catwalk from the closed circles
of the industry. A celebration of the subversion of market trends, the
fashion equivalent of the garage band myth, a brush with the conceptual,
this is what clothing can be and what it can do.
This is low couture
do or D.I.Y.!
(see photos here and video here)