LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
MODA Staff 2013-2014 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alexandra McInnis
his issue is an important one for MODA. It’s our anniversary issue, our biggest issue yet that celebrates 10 years of MODA as a fashion organization at UChicago. The first and only group of its kind, MODA was established to give fashion a more prominent presence at UChicago, and has since grown to become a major campus entity. However, we take a look back at MODA’s roots in our interview with MODA co-founder Adelle McElveen. Our Spring Issue is also our arts and culture issue, appropriately so given our theme of achievement because it is in this domain that we can see the full spectrum of what a fashion magazine can accomplish. Fashion’s relationship to the music scene becomes clear in “It Takes Two”, and “Painted Pricetag” discusses whether the essence of art is compromised by the increasingly chic and exclusive world that produces it. Our “Color Me Bold” makeup editorial treats the face as a canvas, and a dramatic photo shoot at the Music Box Theatre shows off avant-garde clothing conceived more as pieces of art than everyday wear. And given our theme, where better to shoot than Chicago’s very own Art Institute, as we do in “Clear Lines” to show off minimalist spring-time pieces? In conceptualizing fashion as an aesthetic force amidst greater cultural movements, the editorial team of MODA has created our own artistic product to share with you.
Alexandra McInnis MODA Editor-in-Chief
MODA Spring 2014
MANAGING & LAYOUT EDITOR Rachel Scheinfeld PHOTOGRAPHY & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ivy Zhang STYLING EDITORS Hannah Howcroft & Rebecca Liu FEATURES EDITOR Sindhu Gnanasambandan BEAUTY EDITOR Lucie Fama MARKETING MANAGER Amutha Muthukumar ASSISTANT LAYOUT EDITOR Maya Hansen
WRITERS & CONTRIBUTERS: Graham Bacher, Carmin Chappel, Catherine Chen, Stacey Chiu, Joy Cho, Jenn David, Nealey DuVemay, Emily Espinel, Julie Khidekel, Gina Li, Alexandra McInnis, Miranda Means, Spencer Moy, Mary Pierce, Denay Rogers, Natalya Samee, Ellen Swicord, Angie Wan STYLISTS: Graham Bacher, Catherine Chen, Frances Chen, Sonia Chou, David Flomenbaum, Hannah Howcroft, Rebecca Liu, Amany Maloba, Ogonna Obiajunwa, Amy Risk, Erin Risk MAKEUP & HAIR ARTISTS: Heather Chan, Michelle De Porto, Lucie Fama, Caterina Gleijeses, Nadine Menna PHOTOGRAPHERS: Albert Nam, Peter Tang, Ivy Zhang MODELS: Arun Abraham-Singh, Jordan Appel, Jessica Avva, Jon Catlin, Sophie Ettinger, David Flomenbaum, Maya Grever, Anna Gustafson, Maya Hansen, Vincent Lo, Jessica Loo, Adiba Matin, Theo Shure, Iona Tesliuc We’re grateful to ORCSA for providing us with a space to produce our magazine. Special thanks to Carl Krause of the Art Institute, Buck LePard of the Music Box Theatre, Candace Walters of the Office of Risk Management, Psi Upsilon UChicago Chapter, The Smart Museum, Drumbar at the Raffaello Hotel, Shelby Steiner, Agnes Hamerlik, Penelope’s Boutique, Remi Canarie, and Independence for making this issue possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 06
Art geeks unite as we bring you some of the coolest galleries the city has to offer.
From here at UChicago to London and Japan, MODA spotlights productions dedicated to fashion.
IT TAKES TWO:
Natalya Samee discusses the link between music and fashion.
THE NEW LOOK OF COUTURE:
THE CORE OF FASHION:
How do HUM, SOSC, and CIV books relate to fashion? Angie Wan explores.
Carmin Chappel interviews Chicago-based photographer Annalise Freytag.
A new player on Chicago’s fashion scene chats with writerJoy Cho.
FASHION MAGS AROUND THE GLOBE:
Editor-in-Chief Alexandra McInnis introduces the innovative work of Iris Van Herpen.
10 28 14 34
Go behind the scenes of Designer Boot Camp with Miranda Means and Jenn David to meet the designers for MODA’s 2014 show.
COLOR ME BOLD:
Beauty editor Lucie Fama experiments with bright spring makeup.
The New Lost Generation:
Drumbar Chicago serves as a backdrop to this menswear shoot featuring clothes from Independce.
The chic and simple silhouettes of Remi Canarie’s designs are complimented by the modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
CINEMA AS SPECTACLE:
High drama takes the stage at the Music Box Theatre embodying the cinema as artform.
February 13–June 15, 2014
Chinese, Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), Mask Designs for Court Opera Characters, ca. 1746–95, Album leaves, ink, and color on paper. © The Field Museum, Photographer John Weinstein.
MODA Spring 2014
Chicago Culture Cues: Moda Staff Writers give you the inside scoop on cultural happenings coming up this spring in Chi Town. Behold the perfect weekend study break plans!
XOCO Mexican Food Stand EAT: Small, cozy and unimposing. Near the corner of Illinois and Clark in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Rick Bayless’s haven for Mexican food stands: XOCO. During the summers, an outdoor patio welcomes intrigued diners, but the warm tortas and rich chocolate espresso draw even the coldest of Chicagoans into her doors. In early March, Bayless is planning the opening of a newer, larger and more radical XOCO in Wicker Park. While Wicker Park is quite the hop away, between the extra dining space, bar, and bold Mexican street food, the new XOCO is sure to be worth the trip. Affordable and mouthwatering, the new XOCO will redefine the dining experience. Come March, let the churros and five different types of hot chocolate—including one with chile and allspice!—keep you warm and help get you through the last few weeks of the quarter. You’ve earned it, UChicago. (by Gina Li)
Photo from nordicnibbler.com
Chicago Couture Fashion Week GAWK: Strike a pose! May 9th-11th , at a to-be-determined upscale location (last year’s
show was at the Alhambra Palace), is the annual Chicago Couture Fashion Show, hosted by the not-for-profit company Chicago Couture Fashion Week. CCFW caters to two programs, the Chicago Couture Fashion Week Exhibition program and the CCFW Inc. Youth Apprentice program. The first aims at connecting emerging local designers and retailers with high-end brands to jump-start their careers, while the latter is focused on skill-building opportunities in fashion for underprivileged youth in Chicago. Youth get the opportunity to participate in an 8-week program consisting of hands-on fashion design training and event planning. Both programs provide exposure and experience for those looking to break into the fashion industry, which creates job opportunities for Chicago locals. It is also fun for spectators, celebrating Chicago’s emerging fashion scene!(by Denay Rogers) Photo from scalesofmedia.com
Baconfest INDULGE: After a winter of Polar Vortices, Chicago begs for heat. What better way to thaw out
than with some sizzling bacon? This April, the annual Baconfest festival is coming to treat the city with exotic bacon cuisine. The festivals are “fun-filled walk-around tasting events featuring creative bacon dishes from the best chefs in the country”, according to the event’s main website. Chicago’s top restaurants come together to create unique bacon dishes, from bacon kimchi dumplings to bacon vodka. A portion of the proceeds go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to feed the hungry. I had the opportunity to talk with the executive chef of Atwood Restaurant, Derek Simcik, who gave me the latest news on the celebration. His usual dishes resemble “contemporary American cuisine” but, come Baconfest, Simcik tackles bacon-infused desserts, taking on a “Willy-Wonka-meets-bacon” approach. He’s created bacon cannoli and bacon poprocks, but leaves this year’s dish a mystery. He does reveal one thing, however: “The dish is sure to please the crowds of bacon-fanatics.” (by Denay Rogers) Photo from thechive.com
MODA Spring 2014
Beyond Boutique SHOP: When twin sisters Michelle Cohn and Katherine Kucharski founded Beyond
Boutique in May of 2013, they had a clear goal in mind: to blend the basics with the edgy in order to go beyond the limits of everyday fashion. Located in the heart of Bucktown on North Damen Avenue, Beyond Boutique has quickly become one of the most popular boutiques of its kind in the area by offering unique twists on basic items for shoppers on a budget. Classic pieces such as lace dresses and floral skirts are transformed with chic updates such as triangle necklines and bold color patterns. The store also stocks special accessory items including chime earrings and vintage clutch purses. Whatever style you wish to achieve, Beyond Botique can help you find the perfect pieces to complete your look. (by Emily Espinel) Photo from timeout.com
The Promontory GO: Hyde Park continues its culinary transformation this spring with the antic-
ipated opening of The Promontory. Located across from Harper Court at 53rd and Hyde Park, The Promontory is the newest undertaking of the team behind the Michelin-starred Longman & Eagle. While information has been limited about the project, the food will likely fall in with chef Jared Wentworth’s clever, all-natural cuisine, while the space will be adorned with objects from abandoned local landmarks. Not only a first-rate restaurant and bar, The Promontory will also contain a 600-person concert venue upstairs. The Promontory is yet another sign of the upswing in the neighborhood’s dining and retail activity, and along with the buzz from new restaurants like Matthias Merges’ A10, the Promontory may mark Hyde Park’s conversion from a quiet community to a lively destination. (by Graham Bacher) Photo from dnainfo.com
Randolph Street Market BE SAVVY: The Randolph Street Market is a classic weekend spot for Chicagoans offering
a plethora of antiques and vintage goods. As the name suggests, the Market is held on Randolph Street – a sort of outside bazaar. The Market is held in conjunction with Modern Vintage Chicago under the direction of Chicago fashion authority Nena Ivon, whose presence undoubtedly shows the event’s prestige. At the Randolph Street Market you can find famous designers such as Halston, Balenciaga, and Chanel as well as local indie designers like Agga B and Axis of Evelyn. The market, full of antique gems, is also a go-to place to pick up the works of Chicago’s favorite interior designer Nate Berkus. The next Randolph Street Market is March 29th but act fast because there is an early bird online special for students: only six dollars for three tickets! (by Mary Pierce) Photo from welivestyle.com
MODA Spring 2014
GALLERIES GALORE... Four galleries and art centers in Chicago that you do not want to miss out on.
1 1. KAVI GUPTA GALLERY: Kavi Gupta, a network of contemporary art galleries located in both downtown Chicago and the Tempelhof-Schoenebergy borough of Berlin, displays a wide range of contemporary artwork. Gallerist and former investment banker Kavi Gupta founded his first gallery, originally named Vedanta Gallery, in 1998 and opened his Berlin location in 2008. Gupta’s newest gallery, which opened in September of 2013, is currently the largest commercial art gallery in Chicago. The Kavi Gupta galleries have participated in a number of international art fairs, including Art Basel in Miami Beach and in Hong Kong, The Armory Show, EXPO Chicago, Art Chicago, Volta NY and NADA Art Fair Miami. The Kavi Gupta galleries host the work of a wide range of artists famous both internationally and locally for their contemporary style. From February 22nd through April 19th Kavi Gupta will be featuring the artwork of Chicagoan Jose Lerma in the exhibit Gloriosa Superba. Lerma’s work was recently exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and his work has been featured in galleries all over America. Lerma often repurposes nontraditional materials for his artwork, such as electric pianos and military parachutes. Kavi Gupta’s galleries feature a wide range of high-end contemporary art and with their convenient downtown location, are a perfect spot to add to your gallery-hopping itinerary! (by Ellen Swicord)
MODA Spring 2014
2. BRIDGEPORT ART CENTER: The primary focus of
the Bridgeport Art Center is the relationship between the artist and the artwork. The BAC houses a variety of workspaces, studios, galleries and exhibits, bringing in contemporary artists for free public gallery openings to encourage a dialogue between the artist and their artwork. The creative process is paramount. To ensure this, the center has opened its doors for new artists to rent studio spaces. There is also a competition every February for artists who work in all different mediums. Finally, the BAC has open studios where you can go experiment with the experts from 6-10pm every third Friday. Until the end of February the BAC is housing the new exhibit, “Bindu : Art From and About India”, which displays the art of Paula Garret-Ellis, Manvee Vaid, and Stacey Sirow. The exhibit, much like the center, is entirely about the creative processes, focusing on the art’s influences, medium, and history. Through vibrant and energized pieces including naturally made pastes, floor murals, and tribal art, the artists explore the role of women in a world where they are pressured to prescribe to others’ standards of femininity. The BAC is a great place to explore art and the captivating Bridgeport neighborhood. (by Mary Pierce)
3. SACRED ART: Looking for an artsy outing besides
the usual art gallery? Sacred Art, started in 2006 by Sar-
ah Chazin, is an affordable “alternative to the traditional gallery”, featuring over 100 artists from the Chicago area who are working with number of artistic mediums. Many pieces are only about $25. When I interviewed Kate Merena, the new manager, she explained the variety at Sacred Art by saying, “We’ve taken the idea of art and blown it out.” Additionally, several exhibitions are also shown to highlight local artists and projects. These wide-ranging mediums and displays may seem random at first, but it is this eclectic assortment that makes Sacred Art such a unique gallery with an obvious passion for art and Chicago. Sacred Art makes a real effort to reach out to the community, holding a variety of workshops and events. According to Merena, the gallery also plans on hosting theatrical and musical performances in the future, in addition to an 8th Anniversary party come March. Sacred Art’s vibrant energy, eclectic range of art, and mission to connect the community to local artists makes it the perfect place to immerse oneself in everything Chicago has to offer. (by Nealey DuVemay)
4. MORPHO GALLERY: Morpho Gallery, located
in Bowanville on the North Side of Chicago, exhibits the artwork of many local and up-and-coming artists. The gallery, in addition to displaying various works of art and providing a stylish backdrop for wine-tastings, private parties and other special events, hosts an annual “Juried Photography Exhibition.” Morpho Gallery will display these photographic works between April 4th and May 3rd; this will be the gallery’s ninth such showing. Morpho Gallery is also home to the works of many famous Chicago artists, including Burt Menco and Elizabeth Ockwell. Menco, a retired scientist who worked in Northwestern University’s Department of Neurobiology and Physiology, is most famous for his printworks and has displayed his pieces abroad in galleries in Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Belgium and Romania. Elizabeth Ockwell, who studied painting in Hamburg, Germany and taught figure drawing and anatomy at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute for thirty years, is best
4 Photos from (1) facebook.com/Kavi-Gupta-Gallery, (2) facebook. com/Bridgeport-Art-Center-Skyline-Loft, (3) facebook.com/SacredArtChicago, (4) facebook.com/Morpho-Gallery
known for her works featuring famous European architectural styles. Her pieces include architecture in Paris, Rome, Venice and Vienna and blend atmospherical shades of light and dark with an intriguing take on perspective. Morpho Gallery attracts a wide range of internationally renowned artists and is a definite must-see for those looking to explore local Chicago galleries! (by Ellen Swicord) MODA Spring 2014
FASHION MAGS: ZI
Around the Globe. I
F R UiT
STUDENT FASHION BLOG
ashion has no bounds. Although we tend to limit ourselves to local trends, we can look to overseas fashion sources in the UK to get a sartorial, new outlook on what’s in. Take, for example, studentfashionblog.co.uk, a British blog dedicated to spotting the hottest European styles. This fashion website was launched in 2009 by then Birmingham University student Michael Tefula, and now boasts a team of four editors and fifteen active contributors. All who are associated with production of the blog are either students or recent graduates, mostly of various colleges within England. On this blog, you can scroll through articles on fashion, beauty, spotlight (which focuses on highlighting different, sophisticated events going on around the world), lookbook, and competitions readers can enter. The lookbook was one of the sections that caught my attention because contributors are given free reign to write about the looks that they like the most. The lookbook models consist entirely of students with a range of different body types, diverging from the models typically expected from a fashion publication. These lookbook blogs can feature anything from bold slogan beanies to casual autumn outfits for when you’re in a hurry leaving the house but want to look polished and put together. What better source for fashion inspiration and fresh takes on trends than posh, young British fashionistas, who encounter the trendiest European styles on a day to day basis? (by Natasha Chandler)
MODA Spring 2014
n 1997, when photographer Shoichi Aoki noticed that young people in the Harajuku district of Japan were mixing traditional Japanese clothing with Western fashion, he realized that fashion was changing. Established soon after, FRUiTS is a Japanese fashion monthly that is essentially a compilation of street style snapshots, and is known for its authentic portrayal of the distinctive street style in the Harajuku district of Japan. The magazine has reached a huge cult following since its inception, and is far from your average supermarket glossy. Inside FRUiTS, you will find page upon page of snapshots of of young Japanese sartorialists who follow no fashion conventions and artfully layered textures, prints, and patterns into creative and inspiring outfits. These are people who wear sports jerseys over pajama trousers, glittery platform sandals with harem pants, and manage to make it all work. And this is precisely what Aoki looks for while roaming the streets of Harajuku. When asked what his taste is, Aoki replied that “it has to be original, not too obsessed with brands and something that’s mixed, you know, lots of things mixed together and layered” (Barrell). In this age of constant trends and style rules, FRUiTS provides an antithesis and reassures us that fashion can be about self-expression as well as moving other people. And how does Aoki describe his subjects? “Cool people, someone that moves me when I see them walking down the street” (Felix and Florrie). FRUiTS, along with Aoki’s two other publications, STREET and TUNE, can be found on http://www.street-eo.com. (by Catherine Chen)
Photos from (counterclockwise): FRUiTS Magazine, studentfashionblog.co.uk, Oxford Fashion Society, Out of Order Magazine
OUT OF ORDER MAGAZINE
or a publication so new to the scene (only two issues in), Out of Order magazine has garnered an impressive amount of international acclaim. Through a wildly successful, yet convoluted web of support (read: Stella McCartney, Jason Wu, Olivier Theyskens, etc.), this bi-annual publication is holding true to its purpose statement – creating the next generation of cultural tastemakers. MODA spoke with Dorian Grinspan, the 21-year-old Editor-in-Chief of OOO. Grinspan seems to hold a unique global perspective: he reigns from Paris, has [formerly] modeled in Europe, currently studies at a diverse institution, Yale, and works from a luxe loft in Manhattan. Lucky enough to have “travel[ed] around the world a lot as a kid,” working in fashion has exposed him to an even wider global horizon. “You come in contact with so many different cultures that it’s hard to know exactly what or even if it influences you,” said Grinspan. But pertaining to fashion writing, Grinspan acknowledges the permeation of global influence - “When you travel you see a lot of things that are foreign to you and it informs your visual language.” Out of Order spans a wide range of arts, culture and fashion, and the content of his magazine is colored with an array of European flavors. Between the two issues, OOO has featured American rapper Angel Haze, American model Arizona Muse and her son, up and coming German photographer Amira Fritz, and photographs from Paris-based German designer Karl Lagerfeld. Distributed among other Ivy League institutions, Out of Order is carried at fashion labels all over the world, including France-based Colette, Opening Ceremony locations, and FiveStory NY, as well as in Australia, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, and Japan. Keep an eye out for OOO, MODA is predicting this [inevitable] success. (by Spencer Moy)
ccording to So Magazine at the Fashion Institute of Melbourne in Australia, overalls are in this spring. For those wanting to make bold fashion choices, metallics are a necessity. And athletes rejoice, this summer will usher in a new era in fashion: a fusion between fashion and fitness featuring trendy sneakers. Started in fall 2013 by Melbourne School of Fashion students, the magazine focuses on all aspects of the fashion industry. From covering Melbourne Fashion Week to featuring a profile of Australia’s Next Top Designer winner, So is constantly on the cutting edge of fashion. But, for So, fashion is so much more than following the latest runway trends. The first page of the magazine states, “A start of a new season is a chance to reinvent yourself”. Each new season represents a rebirth, a fresh start for one’s closet and a rejuvenation of one’s state of mind. People embrace this renewal both through the clothes they buy and through feeling confident with the clothes they’re wearing every season. The magazine also features music and food guides, immersing readers into the latest Australian happenings. While So is a new addition to the world of collegiate fashion magazines, its unique point of view and innovative articles about Melbourne life make it a magazine to keep an eye on. (by Julie Khidekel) MODA Spring 2014
IT TAKES TWO. Natalya Samee, Marketing Chair of the Major Activities Board, explores the overlap of fashion and music.
MODA Spring 2014
et’s start on the most basic level: technology has made us slaves to stimulation. On a day-to-day basis, we are visually and aurally bombarded with content. Whether we’re stabbing at our iPads in class or screwing in our ear buds at the gym, companies are reaching us through how we watch and listen, making aesthetics and acoustics more important than ever before. Naturally, musicians and fashion designers are using each other, and these channels, to give their exposure staying power. Some people say that fashion and music are interdependent – but I’d take it a step further. Like high school sweethearts, the two are codependent. Music artists need fashion because it fuels signification and association. Who is Michael Jackson without his penny loafers? Elton John without his sunglasses? Fashion lets musicians not only cultivate a signature statement, but also establish a commercial enterprise as part of their brand. Similarly, fashion depends on music to survive and be interpreted correctly. “If the clothes are the meat of the show, music is the soul that brings it alive,” fashion designer Prabal Gurung tells the New York Times. “Each season we want to tell a story for 12 minutes or so on the runway. That story can be successfully told when there is a perfect harmony between the clothes and the music.” Instant Mood: Just Add Music. Much of the pairing comes down to dollars and cents; fashion and music are much more commercially lucrative combined. Rap collectives such as Odd Future, also known as OFWGKTA, have capitalized on this the most. Odd Future’s online clothing store sells the uniform of teenage hip-hop impudence: graphic hoodies, loudly patterned ironic t-shirts, and fluorescent socks. Meanwhile A$AP Mob’s garb includes street wear to high-fashion crossover brands like Jeremy Scott and Hood By Air. In both cases, fashion and music join forces to curate a lifestyle for consumers, and for a pretty penny too. To last in today’s industry, artists have to be about more than just music, making the profit margins and brand loyalty on clothing a very attractive venture. “I can’t tell you how many times [a track] gets added and no one makes a penny,” comments Christian Clancy, Manager of OFWGKTA. “That’s a game I’m not interested in.” Go to Coachella and take a shot every time you see a male youth in a Supreme hat or an OBEY shirt. Both designer brands are symbolic of punk rock and hip-hop skate culture, showing that fashion, music and lifestyle are irrevocably intertwined. The connection is so strong that the biggest players in these industries today actively try to reinforce the presence of the other – or, simply, collaborate. Fashion lets you wear an artist’s music. Music lets you hear a designer’s vision. It’s a process well-ingrained in history; fashion designer Vivienne Westwood helped cultivate the subculture we understand today as punk. Westwood spent the ‘70s outfit-
ting the Sex Pistols and creating a look that has been continuously derived and reinvented to this day. Today these collaborations are commonplace, with French electro-pop duo Justice producing an exclusive soundtrack for Dior Homme’s Spring/Summer 2009 Menswear show. Similarly, Hedi Slimane commissioned Daft Punk to musically accompany his inaugural collection for Saint Laurent Paris, and later cast them moodily donning his black glittery jackets in editorials for Vogue and M Le Monde Magazine. But the duties in this fashion-music dynamic are becoming less and less clear-cut. Musicians are now foraying into creative territory by designing their own collections. Kanye West collaborated with Jean Touitou, founder of A.P.C., to create a high-end French ready-to-wear collection that is a far cry from the days of rappers in Reebok G Unit sneakers. Musicians are traversing the bridge from sound to visuals, becoming auteurs in their own right. Then you have your olive oil-voiced, trim-tuxedoed, pocket-squared power players: Justin Timberlake is the Tom Ford of music, and vice versa. The refined union comes as no surprise, proving that fashion designers are also crossing over, as Ford himself served as creative director for Timberlake’s highly anticipated third studio album, The 20/20 Experience. The record reeks of polished leather and cologne; a track entitled ‘Suit & Tie’ is only to be expected. In all these examples, the key is finding a collaborator with complementary sentiments so as to bring out the best in one another. Consistency across visions is pivotal. Dior and Justice represent the slim, French, male silhouette. Daft Punk and Saint Laurent symbolize mechanistic glitterati. Alexander Wang’s eccentricity, tied with DJ/producer Diplo’s inventive beats and rapper A$AP Rocky’s ice-cool persona in Wang’s Fall 2012 Ready-ToWear video, are the ingredients of youth. Any association with Alexander Wang at the beginning of a musician’s career is a golden ticket, an endorsement of the next most relevant creative presence, with alumni including Azealia Banks and Die Antwoord. Music and fashion have always coalesced to define a generation and express a period of life. Today, this duality is at its most prominent. “But what does this all mean, Mom?” A couple things: a) The profiteering powers have finally merged in every palpable way, and will suffocate us as we grasp at ideals carefully cooked up in soundproof recording booths and airy photo studios. b) The boundless world of creativity has let the role of an artist evolve by allowing a smooth waft from one creative project to another, lifting the artificial constraints of occupational labels. c) Yeezy makes jackets. YEEZY makes JACKETS.
Some people say that fashion and music are interdependent – but I’d take it a step further. Like high school sweethearts, the two are codependent.
Top photo from thedailybeast.com, bottom photo from Vogue.
MODA Spring 2014
The New Look of Couture MODA Editor-in-Chief Alexandra McInnis discusses the work of Iris Van Herpen, who may very well be transforming the couture world.
aute couture. French for “high stitchery”, the phrase denotes the exquisite craftsmanship made possible by the world’s most skilled seamstresses in the ateliers of Raf Simons and Sarah Burton. We imagine yards of luxurious fabrics transformed into perfectly tailored silhouettes, not to mention feathers, beads and hand-made lace painstakingly applied to gowns that take weeks, if not months, to finalize. But a newcomer to the haute couture world is threatening to turn the very meaning of the phrase on its head. For 29-year-old Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, haute couture means 3-D printing. Van Herpen’s latest collection, Voltage, featured two 3-D printed outfits: a little black dress of an intricate, web-
MODA Spring 2014
like construction and a boxy cape and skirt combination. To execute the garments, Herpen sought the aid of leading specialists in 3-D printing including Stratasys, MIT-based Medicated Matter Group, and the Belgian 3-D printing company Materialise. The final product also warranted the vision of renowned architect Julia Koerner who lent her design and engineering skills to create a blueprint of the dress. It wasn’t Van Herpen’s first dabble in 3-D printing— she’s been experimenting with the medium since 2010— but it was her most successful attempt, earning her the top prize at the 2013 Dutch Design Award. Van Herpen received her fashion education from the iconoclastic school. A former intern for Alexander McQueen, Van Herpen’s collections reflect McQueen’s out-
landish proportions and challenges to aesthetic norms. But where Van Herpen emerges as an innovator in her own right is her move to revolutionize the very methods of constructing clothes. As the 3-D printing technology continues to develop, we can envision computer programs where we design our own clothes, enter our proportions and print out custom-made garments, overstepping both developing-world factories and Paris ateliers. As such, the potential democratization of custom-made clothes could also destabilize the glamour surrounding the inaccessible echelons of haute couture. The streamlined technology of 3-D printing also begs the question of whether the craftsmanship and artistry of fashion will be jeopardized. However, if Van Herpen herself is any indication, 3-D printing may in fact increase the artistic quality of fashion. Indeed her collaborations with architects Julia Koerner and Philip Beesley, visual artist
Bart Hess and dance choreographer Nanine Linning suggest further possibilities for fashion as an art form in terms of aesthetic, construction and movement. But will Van Herpen’s methods become the new norm? As a guest member of the prestigious Fédération française de la couture, Van Herpen is allowed to show her work at Paris Couture Fashion Week alongside the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Stefano Pilatti. Undoubtedly the fashion industry will take time to embrace Van Herpen’s conflation of fashion, art and technology, but with her work on such a high platform, 3-D printing couture may very well diffuse into the mainstream. As other designers continue to develop collections that reference couture’s golden past, Van Herpen seems to have her eye on the future. Photos, from left: ashadedviewonfashion.com, stylezza.com, candidonline.com, irisvanherpen.com, vogue.co.uk, ashadedvisiononfashion.com
MODA Spring 2014
or a wealthy person at an art auction, there’s probably nothing more exciting than shelling out millions of dollars from his or her very own pocket for a world-renowned work of art created by a world-renowned artist. It’s the atmosphere – the clamoring, the shadowed room with a light shining like a beacon on a painting, regally propped on an easel, the adrenaline rush of bidding – or maybe it’s the feeling of owning something that can’t be duplicated or replaced. And if the artist is dead, even better. It’s a world that not many of us will ever experience. Banksy, the polarizing graffiteur, has something to say about it: “I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit.” The guy has a point. In this age, art has become more commercialized, expensive, and lucrative than ever. On paper, this sounds like progress – but, isn’t art supposed to be less about money and more about appreciation of culture? Why are we only appreciating art that people like to spend money on? There’s a problem when art is getting more expensive but only for the works that are well known. According to Bansky, there’s not much that discerns his art from the art of other’s, and the people who buy art need to widen their scope. We need to find a way to get over our obsession with brands – buying art based on how it affects the soul, rather than by its name recognition, is what keeps value true to worth. When bidding for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucien Freud” finally came to a stop at Christie’s New York just this past November, the painting shattered the
MODA Spring 2014
record of the highest selling price for any artwork at an auction, selling for $142.4 million. The work is remarkably striking, haunting, and being displayed as a triptych, showcases Bacon’s ability to divulge the ugliness and despair surrounding us that we choose to ignore. In other words, it is an exceptional work of art and no doubt worth every penny. There’s just a small problem with assigning monetary value to an object so subjective; how much of the $142.4 million is attached to the name (Francis Bacon), to the age (a little less than 50 years), to the subject (Lucien Freud, master painter in his own right)? Appreciation of art doesn’t have a number, but the value attached to the “who”, “what”, “where”, and “when” do. But that’s not what art is about. Take Damien Hirst. He’s the guy who encrusted a human skull with 8,601 diamonds, called it “For the Love of God,” and subsequently sold it for 50 million British pounds, the highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist. Hirst, who dominated the British art scene in the 90’s, currently stands as the United Kingdom’s richest artist. He’s a celebrity. However, not everyone is a fan, and Hirst appears to be as polarizing as he is popular. Julian Spalding, a British art critic and writer of Con Art – Why You Should Sell Your Damien Hirsts While You Can, writes a scathing review of the artist in the UK’s Independent in which he says, “When the penny drops that [Damien Hirsts] are not art, it’s all going to collapse. Hirst should not be in the Tate. He’s not an artist. What separates Michelangelo from Hirst is that Michelangelo was an
MODA Staff Writer, Stacey Chiu, identifies some of the biggest issues concerning the economization of the art world, and the culture that has developed along with it.
Left and two photos leftside right page: Photos taken in the Smart Museum of Art by Jasmeen Randhawa. Styled by Ogonna. Top right: work by Banksy from apronshop. tumblr.com.
artist and Hirst isn’t.” Germaine Greer of The Guardian pinpoints Hirst’s success to “his brand, because the art form of the 21st century is marketing.” Both Spalding and Greer are right – Hirst’s art comes off as arbitrary and random when compared to each deliberate stroke of Michelangelo’s brush, but he’s successful because of his brand. People buy his works like people buy Prada. The substance becomes less important than the name behind it, and that’s what makes money. Nowadays, it seems like all there is to art is the name. The name Keith Haring, artist and activist, is plastered across t-shirts at Urban Outfitters, a Yayoi Kusama exhibit is touted as a mustsee event in every New York magazine while lesser known artists hardly get mentions. Yet Banksy, who calls buyers “morons” and ardently denounces the commercialization of art, can’t do what he does without the profitable successes of his earlier work. While Banksy might complain about the capitalist politics of the art world, his “Destroy Capitalism”
prints cannot avoid being co-opted into that same “Wal-Mart” machinery. We can’t exactly say that paying high prices for the works of talented people is bad, but what I think Banksy is trying to get at is that there’s an injustice if we’re blinded by the proliferation of high-profile artists and ignore the just-as-talented struggling artists. It’s undeniable: art has an irresistible allure, and its financial value and essential value – the power it has on an individual’s emotions and spiritual being – twist together until its almost impossible to decipher one from the other. These opposing but interlocking aspects are the driving force behind the inherent struggle of assigning value to art in a world dictated by money. To spend loads of money on “famous” pieces or to rid artwork entirely of price are both problematic. Money is a great way to enable people, but it skews the art world when it only goes to a certain group of artists. Thus, next time you purchase a contemporary work of art, base your decision on how it moves you.
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THE CORE OF FASHION Can UChicago’s acclaimed core curriculum help us understand fashion? Writer Angie Wan seeks to explore this question using classic texts.
UM, SOSC, CIV, ART – our beloved Core classes give us a common vocabulary to engage the world and our fellow students. What then do these shared readings say about fashion? The discourse on fashion must begin somewhere, and where better to start than in Genesis? In the beginning, Genesis proclaims, God created the heaven and the earth, man and, from man, woman. “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Nakedness and the lack of shame defined the prelapsarian man, not only in the literal sense, but also in that man (and woman) is fully revealed. Even today there is an association between being unclothed and sincerity. We “bare” our souls for the “naked truth”. Getting naked with someone else is considered one of the highest forms of intimacy. Before the fall of Man, there was nothing to keep unrevealed, no shame to keep hidden. It is only when Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Clothing becomes emblematic of the Original Sin, taking on connotations of falsehood, yet paradoxically, human knowledge as well. “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil”, God says in Genesis 3:22. What does this say about our clothing choices today? Are we refusing to trade in duplicity and covering our shame? By wearing less, we embrace the forbidden knowledge and, rather than court shame, we rebuff it. The idea of shame cannot reconcile itself with that of pride. To shame someone, you expose them or their behavior in someway
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and expect them to shrink from that exposure, as if naked in a crowd. While shame is the balm of the sinful virtuous, pride is widely considered in Christian theology as first among the Seven Deadly Sins as it is the refusal to appropriately acknowledge one’s transgressions. By freely revealing our shame, shame itself is destroyed, so go out and wear as little as you want (weather permitting of course)! Now what about the cut-out, backless dress you’ve been eyeing from Zara as the perfect outfit to vanquish your shame? “Problematic”, says the Marxists. According to Kathryn Franklin, who teaches the Self, Culture, Society sequence here at the University of Chicago, “at the core of capitalist alienation, at least as Marx classically conceived it, is not so much that we don’t know who makes our clothing, but that in most cases the garment workers who produce our clothes don’t possess the means to purchase that clothing. So they (hypothetically) participate [in fashion] only as producers, not as consumers.” Or in the Marx’s own words, the market and the workers’ relationship to their labour product “assume a material shape which is independent of their control and their conscious individual action.” Us consumers are alienated from the system as well. That value of the little dress does not derive from the work of the Bangladeshi factory worker nor the runway designs from which it was inspired, but simply the figure dictated on the price tag. This is the “mysterious character of the commodity-form…the fact that the commodity reflects the social characteristics of man’s own labour as objective characteristics of the products of labour themselves.” The runway fashion designer and the factory worker are equally estranged from the final product.
Photo from thefrontrowview.com
Because the commodity does not carry the social weight of the labour it took to produce the object, the commodity is devalued in the eyes of the consumer. The dress from Zara becomes ultimately disposable when the next season arrives and new “more fashionable” dresses appear on the shelves, equally devoid of context and meaning past that they are manufactured by the industry. Or at least such would be the view of a traditional Marxist. Yet fashion is not simply just a hollow machine of capitalistic production, holding a greater significance. Even though that dress from Zara – store-bought and mass-produced – is very much a reproduction in the Walter Benjamin sense à la The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, it is even more so if it takes its inspiration from the runways. If you take haute couture as art-fashion, then what we purchase is a mere reproduction of the art-object, devoid of “presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be”. In other words, it is absent of context. Yet it seems that fashion does not exactly follow this argument presented in Benjamin’s piece. Again, from Kathryn Franklin: “to the extent that clothing can do real work, it’s in the ability for commodity objects of ‘no value’ to be valuable, in the sense of having semiotic capacity, of expressing themselves clearer than words … [such as] Hugo Boss’s
Nazi uniforms, Saville Row suits on Teddy Boys, as well as t-shirts and blue jeans on the 1950’s restless youth, or the safety pins and deconstructed flags of punk’s fashion heroes.” Indeed, day fashion, and the “reproductions” we wear, are often nothing without the context of the runway styles, dictated by time and space. Yet it is certain that they are changed by the new context of day to day wear. “[In] permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced.” There is a certain reluctance to term day fashion as art- rather we term it as style. We remove the idea of the fashion-art from its place on the runways through reproduction and consumption, but while its aura of the runway “decays”, a new aura, that of personal style, emerges. Fundamentally, the Core gives us a theoretical basis to engage with the world around us, and nothing quite surrounds us like fashion. The layers of interpretation, the weight of years of cultural engagement and critique, are carried with the Zara dress and all others like it, context patterning the fabric like dyes. And when we graduate from these hallowed halls, we can take what we’ve learned from the Core with us in every shame shattering, commodity fetishizing, alienating, social transforming stitch. MODA Spring 2014
FREYTAG Carmin Chappell takes us behind the lens with this creative, and beyond hip, Chicago-based photographer.
hether she’s working in digital, film, or video, Chicago-based photographer Annalis Freytag approaches all mediums with a sleek, fine-art aesthetic. In her short yet vibrant career, she’s shot everything from fashion editorials to musicians, with her client list containing a host of notable names such as Vera Wang, BCBG, and MTV. Freytag, who graduated from Western Michigan University in 2010, maintains a down-to-earth cool while her photographs evoke a dreamlike whimsy. In an interview with MODA, Freytag discusses her personal and professional experiences in the photography industry.
film aspects, so I fell in love with it even more then. I went on to Western Michigan University and got my bachelor’s degree in Photography and Video.
MODA: How did you get your start in photography? Annalise Freytag: I’m from Michigan. The first time I ever picked up a camera was when I was 13 years old; it was an old film camera. Ever since then, that was always my shtick. Not necessarily to express myself, but it was more of an investigation type of thing. I liked being outside, so I would just walk around and shoot things. Once I went to high school we had a brand-new darkroom. That’s when I got really active into creating prints and
MODA: How do you overcome challenges in your work? AF: It’s natural that everyone’s their own worst critic. When I graduated from college, I definitely thought I had a lot going for me, and I was really confident in my work. After coming to Chicago, I realized that I was a really small fish in a really big pond. But I have thick skin, and I basically worked my ass off to get to where I am today. I had an internship at a big photography company, and that was my biggest creative block ever. I got a lot
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MODA: Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your biggest influences? AF: I would definitely say my biggest influence would be cinema. There will be a certain scene that I love, so I’ll sketch that down in my book. Then I’ll take certain aspects like lighting or concept, and I’ll create my own visual story based on that. As far as favorite directors, I love Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry.
Left and top two on right from annalisefreytag.com. Photo of Annalise Fregtag on right from figweddings.net.
of criticism, and I didn’t see it constructively. The company I work for now (SAE Institute) sees my fine art aesthetic, and they are more than willing to let me open my mind up to other stuff. MODA: What motivated you during that transition period to keep pursuing your goals? AF: Honestly, it was kind of not giving a shit, and sticking to my guns and sticking to my roots. I think every single artist should have some self-doubt in them. I don’t think people should walk around thinking that their work is amazing and it can’t improve. I think that’s when you stop being a good artist. You should always want to take your work to the next level. You should always want to look at other peers’ work, and look at what other photographers are doing, and try to build yourself off of that. I think that was my biggest thing: being my own worst critic, but also being the best critic. I’m not going to make work I’m not satisfied with, and I don’t take on projects that don’t fit me. MODA: How does fashion photography different from other types of photography? What constitutes a good fashion picture? AF: What I think constitutes a good fashion picture, in my fashion work, is to not base it off of the clothes. I consider myself a fine art photographer, and I think fashion and editorial work molds itself into that. I see a ton of photographers out there, and what they claim as fashion photography, I would call commercial photography. There’s no substance behind it, no backstory. The way that I go about making my fashion work is definitely with the same mentality that I’ve always had, which is to make it a conceptu-
al-based piece. I’d rather have people look at my work as fine art that happens to also fall within fashion. I think all those realms fall together. MODA: Do you prefer newer photographic technology or more traditional methods? AF: I love the darkroom so much. When I first started doing digital, I was awful at it. But I would definitely say now I’m more digitally based, however I do shoot booth. It also depends on the project: if it calls for a film aesthetic I’d rather shoot it in film then shoot it digitally and edit it to look like film. I’m more comfortable with film. I’m a huge advocate for keeping darkrooms in schools. MODA: I know you are the CEO and Head Photographer of your own production company, LionTamer Productions. What are the advantages to being your own boss? AF: I don’t like to admit it, but I’m somewhat of a control freak. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I just stood and listened to what everyone else said. I love working in teams and having people give me their ideas and concepts because there are so many inspirational people surrounding me. But for the most part, I like to have creative control over what’s going on. I don’t perform well in a shoot if I feel like I have a pair of eyes staring at the back of my head. It’s all about self-promotion. I think with social media especially, photographers have toughened up a little bit, and they have to represent themselves not just as someone who takes a picture but like a business. MODA: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to improve his or her photography work? AF: I know it sounds cliché, but stick to your guns when it comes to a concept you’re passionate about. Take critique not necessarily directly to the heart, but don’t dismiss it. Don’t take everything so personally. Because I loved my photo work so much, it’s hard to say critique didn’t feel like a personal attack because what I was making was what I was feeling. Also, your parents will never understand your work, but they’ll love you anyways. MODA Spring 2014
BORRIS POWELL Interview by Joy Cho
n Alabama native, Chicago-based designer Borris Powell has established himself as a name to watch in today’s fashion industry. Having moved to Chicago back in 1997, Powell won the Oscar’s Designer Challenge in 2011 in which one of his gowns was displayed on-air during the Academy Awards ceremony. Since then, Powell has garnered recognition and honors from prominent magazines and media outlets, such as Elle and Lucky. His website describes “his trademark silhouettes [as having] the comforting familiarity of his early authentic memories mixed with a chic nod to high-end city life.” In a conversation about Powell’s influences and aspirations, MODA gets a glimpse of the electric personality behind his innovative designs. MODA: What kind of influences did growing up in Alabama have on your fashion? Boris Powell: My aesthetic is very clean and very classic. I like to take my time with making things perfect, and that’s just kind of how things [are] in Alabama. You know, it’s a slow-moving world in peace, so I adopt that mentality going into my designs and how I run my business as well. It’s kind of like staying really true to myself and not worrying about all the hustle and the bustle of a big city and what’s going on there.
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MODA: Who has been the most influential for you in terms of your style and vibe? BP: Without a doubt, it would be Christian Dior. I just loved his philosophy when it came down to the design, fashion, and how to dress women, and he was all about, you know, just dressing the woman’s body and not trying to overpower... It was all about finding out what the woman’s inner beauty was, and it’s kind of like dressing toward that. All he really was concerned about [was] making pretty things, and that resonates with who I am as a designer as well. All I want to do is just make people feel and look beautiful. MODA: If you were asked to define beauty, what would you say that would be? BP: If I was asked to define beauty, I would definitely have to say that it’s something that is inner confidence. And beauty can change from day to day; one day maybe you feel like dressing in all black…and the next day you want to be in all red. But beauty is just a self-feeling that helps us to conquer any self-doubt that we might have. Beauty is timeless; it’s classic. It can be a feeling or it can be a look. MODA: How would you characterize your own fashion sense and your fashion line?
MODAinterviews BP: Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman has always been one that’s at the top of my list. Just because I think everything that she is about – her persona, her look, everything, it embodies exactly who I am as a designer and the message that I want to get out… to the world as what I want to design, who I want to design for, and the caliber of people that I want to design for.
BP: I would definitely say my fashion aesthetic would be more of like a timeless, high-end, social eventing type of fashion. I definitely design for the person that likes to get dressed up and likes to go out and likes to feel great and likes to feel a bit of the center of attention as well. MODA: Any upcoming shows/current projects? BP: Well, my next show here in Chicago…will be March the 14th. It’s going to be held at Block 37, which is off State Street down the new Loop. It’s gonna be my next collection that I will debut for Fall/Winter 2014. It will be both men’s and women’s wear, and I’m introducing more handbags, my very first lipstick for women, and wallets for men. So that’s a really big big big project that I’m working on right now, just trying to solidify the last few pieces for that particular collection, and then I will be going to New York in about two and a half weeks for Market. And Market is like a big fashion tradeshow, where you have booths and you’re displaying your work and other retailers and buyers come through and hopefully order for the next season. MODA: Your Fall/Winter 2013 collection revolved around “dark romance.” What was your inspiration behind that? BP: Basically I came about this collection because this was going to be sort of my first full attempt on really trying to do more of a ready-to-wear collection, and not so much kind of couture, one-of-a-kind, custom direction [that] I am known for. I kind of looked at Chicago for inspiration for one of the first times. And I see Chicago…is very comfortable with wearing black and grays. The Midwest loves the dark colors. Not a lot [of people] are gonna wear the bold colors. So I think, well, if I am going to design a collection for the city which I want the city to start getting dressed up and not just really comfortable in your like sweats and your workout pants, and calling that fashion-I want you to dress up again This is why I built this collection and I called it “dark romance” because, Chicago, again, is adopting a dark colors…But I went and put a spin on the dark colors…and heavier fabrics, but to make it romantic, so this is how I came up with “dark romance.” MODA: Do you think Chicago has potential as a fashion city? BP: I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it had potential. MODA: If you could dress one person in the world, who would it be and why?
MODA: Who are some designers that you wear on a regular basis? BP: Oh well I’m wearing Borris Powell now [laughs]. So I try to make sure that I’m marketing my own brand now. That’s what I’m telling people, I wear Borris Powell now. I’m trying to support that local artist guy [laughs]. MODA: What inspires you nowadays? BP: I’m inspired by the world. I think the world is a very beautiful place, and I think it’s given me so much inspiration, and it’s not one particular thing, whether it’s nature, beauty, skyscrapers, or the clouds, or water. I try to be in tune with every single facet of the world. The world is definitely my number one inspiration. MODA: Personally, what is the most challenging part of being a designer? BP: I would say the most challenging part is, as of now, being in the city where I don’t have as many resources available that I would like. MODA: You moved your storefront from Lakeview to the West Loop. Has business picked up because of that move? BP: Absolutely. It has been like a night and day [difference]. It’s a better move for me and I have more space, there’s better energy in my space now, it’s easier for my clients to get to. It’s a lot warmer of a studio as well; it’s an all-around much better move for me. MODA: When you are not designing, what do you do to relax? BP: I think about designing [laughs]. I can’t get away from it… so there’s not a lot that I do to relax, because I’m pretty much a one-way type of a person where I’m doing one bigger thing at all times and right now my focus is building my brand, so it’s 7 days a week… 24/7. MODA: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? BP: Definitely having a lot more stores that are carrying my brand. That’s the number one goal that I’m working on as of right now… And then outside of that, I want to be in some of the higher-end department stores in the next three years, and then outside of the three years, the next two years that will make up the five years, I want to have at least a freestanding retail store on my own and then start to develop resources in Europe and getting my product in Europe going from more of a nationwide brand to a more global brand. Borris Powell will be participating in the TedX speaker event at UChicago on Saturday, April 19. For more information visit tedxuchicago.com. Photos from BorrisPowell.com. MODA Spring 2014
Adelle McElveen MODA Editor-in-Chief, Alexandra McInnis, chats with MODA Co-Founder, and now successful fashion blogger, Adelle McElveen. Contributions from MODA Managing Editor, Rachel Scheinfeld. In 10 years, you can go from an ordinary University of Chicago student to the manager of a successful fashion blog that is featured in The New York Times, Marie Claire and Lucky. MODA Co-Founder Adelle McElveen, founder of The Fashionista Project, accomplished just this and has received wide-acclaim for her work. As part of MODA’s 10 year anniversary, Adelle chats with Editor-in-Chief Alexandra McInnis as she reflects on her UChicago years as a formative period for her fashion career. MODA: What initially inspired you to start MODA? Adelle McElveen: I’m a co-founder. The person who initially had the idea was named Tina Fang. She was who started [it], said “Let’s do fashion, let’s do a magazine.” Basically I was the one who organized the group, I was the one who said, okay, if this is something we want to do, we have to organize responsibilities and deadlines. I was the one who focused on making something that would last year after year. MODA: How did the organization function originally? AM: The first couple of years we had one issue of the magazine and one fashion show. We started in the fall—the fashion show was in the winter and the magazine was in the spring. We had a board of about 12 people. MODA: What was fashion at UChicago like back in 2003? AM: There were a handful of girls who were stylish. There were a lot of girls who were “cute”, and there were a lot of people who rolled into class wearing baggy jeans and sneak-
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ers all the time. Overall it was not a super stylish school. But me and my friends, we loved to go shopping and to go into the city, to the North Side and Belmont and Bucktown. But then again we were in college, and I look back at my college self and I thought I was super stylish, and I was, but it was also the trends of 10 years ago. MODA: Was MODA seen as a way to fill a void on campus then, to bring fashion when it wasn’t there? AM: Definitely. A lot of people liked fashion, but Chicago was bad weather for most of the year, and you just were trying to make it to classes, so it wasn’t necessarily reasonable or easy to work fashion into your everyday life – limited time, limited budget. I think MODA was great because it gave people a way to experience fashion without having to experience it through their own clothing. MODA: How was MODA initially perceived by your peers on campus? AM: People thought it was super fun, really exciting, because it was really one of the first organizations of its kind. There was FOTA, which I believe had its fashion show at the time, but MODA was the first fashion-specific organization. There were other publications like the Maroon and the Chicago Weekly, and that erotic magazine (is that still around?) but we were definitely new and fun, interesting and cool. AM: Did you envision a particular direction for MODA? MODA: I don’t know! The first year was like, try it and see
GET IT GIRL: Photos from Adelle McElveen’s blog, fashionistalab.com. Check out her blog for the latest fashion news and inspiration.
what happens, and the second year was like, let’s get this thing organized and get some institutional memory going—I was studying institutional memory at the time and I was very into it—which is always important. The first year was a great success, the second year we were all like, let’s make this viable, let’s make it real, let’s get people on board positions and have them take their responsibilities seriously and make sure we can pass information down year after year after year. It’s so great to hear that you guys are not just doing the magazine and the fashion show but that you’re also doing events and getting people together. There are so many ways to experience fashion and shopping, and to hear that you guys are doing that, it’s really great. And [to] do all of that while being students at the U of C and the terrible weather of Chicago is superhuman.
Google Shopping. I had no idea I could actually make fashion into a real thing. You can take whatever you want and you can build it. U of C, there’s a not a lot of fashion there, but you can make it happen.
MODA: I know you have a successful fashion blog. How has your experience as a UChicago student affected your career in fashion? AM: It’s all a continuum. You were doing fashion in school and you know this is something you love and you might want to continue with, so you get some momentum and you keep going. I did fashion stuff in college, and then after college I did a fashion project in Tokyo with a friend, which led me to my own fashion blog which led me to so many things, including my current job with Google shopping. It’s all about building steps and gaining momentum, and when you realize you love this and you’re passionate about it, you start creating things around it, so you keep training and doing it and pursuing it. It starts in college and you get involved and you realize you really love this thing, that to you it’s really valuable or meaningful, and you keep going with it. I’m just so happy that you guys are still doing what you’re doing. When I was in college, I had no idea where I would end up. I had no idea that I would start a fashion blog that would become successful. I had no idea I would work for MODA Spring 2014
MEET THE DESIGNERS Go behind the scenes with MODA’s DBC (Designer Boot Camp) and the creative minds of this year’s fashion show, “Moda in Bloom.” Article by Jenn David and Miranda Means . . Photos by Peter Tang.
GETTING STARTED: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE DESIGNER BOOT CAMP
n the basement of the Logan Arts Center, pre-meds and econ majors hunch over sewing machines late into the night, spinning tulle and lace into wispy gowns of gold. Scraps of fabric lay on the floor while finished pieces are hung up in the corners, proof that the end is near and beautiful. A short three weeks are left until the MODA Spring Fashion Show, during which these students will work roughly five hours a day transforming sketches into cloth, ideas into masterpieces. “[The first cut] is the hardest,” third-year Harrison Yu says. “Because you think, if I mess this up, I might mess up everything. But once you get started then you really get in the rhythm of everything and it’s really easy to keep going forward.” Harrison is the director of the Designer Boot Camp [DBC], MODA’s program for student designers in which they are taught how to sew and create wearable clothing pieces for the Spring Show. While a Boot Camp sounds intensive, the training was simple enough: make a tote bag, a blouse, and then a skirt. After that, Harrison says, you’re ready to make a dress. Though you’d think these student designers were ex-
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perts, for many of them this is a new experience. Out of the four designers we spoke to, none of them had ever designed before the program; in fact, they all only learned how to sew in DBC. Previously, they had expressed their creativity through other endeavors like drawing or sculpting. The MODA Show serves as a new art for them. Aside from learning how to sew, the Boot Camp teaches these novices the feasibility of their imagined designs. At one DBC meeting, alums Chris Stavitsky and Tiffany Young spoke about their startup fashion brand, Vintage Clothing USA, a company that designs clothes based on vintage college photographs. They explained the process behind starting a company, finding a factory to produce their designs, and marketing their designs to the public. Over the course of the program, designers get feedback on their ideas and learn how to make them work on an actual model. TUMBLR, VIENNA AND FOLK PUNK: SOURCES OF INSPIRATION While the DBC helps designers learn how to turn their designs into a wearable masterpiece, making the garment is only half the challenge. Producing innovative and show-stopping designs takes inspiration. In these drea-
ry last few months of winter, fashion inspiration for any article of clothing other than large, movement inhibiting coats or salt-stained, once-beautiful leather boots, can be difficult to find. The remedy, for many of the designers, is the world of the Internet, where picture-compiling blogs like Tumblr make it easy to amass a collection of inspirational images. Other designers looked for inspiration in fine art and architecture, drawing inspiration from a variety of different media. We asked four of this year’s Spring Show designers to share their inspiration with us, from the collages of their Tumblr accounts to the sketches in their notebooks: There’s nothing everyday about second-year Dan Ackerman’s design aesthetic. Simultaneously drawing inspiration from fine art and from popular culture, Dan is interested in challenging the rigid separation between high and low art. He sent us a wide range of images that inspire him, including the works of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt as well as photographs of John Waters and Emmett Honeycutt. “I love the idea of taking a form that is simple, elegant, and high-class, and dragging it into the realm of kitsch,” explains Dan. His inclusion of fine artworks, sculptures, and pieces of furniture amongst the pictures he sent us
demonstrates his devotion to mixing visual art forms in the fashion medium. Like Dan, first-year Harold Chen looks beyond fashion for inspiration when designing. Harold draws from the geometric forms of Suprematism and the aggressive sounds of music like Folk Punk to create his distinct designs. He uses Tumblr to compile his inspiration, filling his blog with sharply architectural pieces of clothing as well as pictures of sculptures and angular Brutalist buildings. “I really like that kind of weird, angular façade,” Harold explains. His designs are also heavily inspired by his favorite designers Yohji Yamamoto, Tatsuro Horikawa and Nicolas Andreas Taralis, whose pieces are, according to Harold, “monochromic, flowing [and] asymmetric.” Harold is designing menswear this year, but originally had difficulty deciding whether to design for men or women because of his androgynous aesthetic. His taste for the monochromatic and angular, combined with his inspirations from architecture and music, will likely combine to produce a unique look. MODA’s Spring Show will also feature designers, like MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
Every design has to start somewhere. Left: designer sketchbook with preliminary design plans. Below designers work with muslin to make patterns for their fabric pieces. Right: DBC pictured together in the workshop. Photos by Peter Tang and styled by Ogonna Obiajunwa.
third-year Howard Chiang, who strive to create more wearable, functional pieces. Howard’s chief concern when designing a piece is authenticity. “I’m trying to create clothing that balances the clothing and the personality,” says Howard, “Clothing is meant to accentuate the person.” His Tumblr, where he says he compiles much of his inspiration, is filled with images of dresses that do just this, from the complex drapery of Viktor and Rolf to the sleek columnar shapes of Elie Saab. The dresses that inspire Howard are predominantly black, the color he uses most in his own designs. Howard’s sketches further demonstrate his commitment to simple, elegant designs meant to accentuate, rather than overwhelm, the women wearing them. Veteran designers will also be showing their work on the runway this year, including DBC directora and third-time MODA Spring Show designer Harrison Yu. Every year, Harrison focuses his collection of evening wear around a specific theme. This year, his designs are inspired by his recent studyabroad experience in Vienna. “I want it to have a very imperial, old-world feel to it but with modern styling and classical patterns,” he says. While Harrison draws much of his inspiration from cities like Paris and Cannes, he also finds inspiration in unusual sources. Last year, the colors of his evening wear designs were meant to evoke the colors of smoke. We expect Harrison’s focused outlook and ability to incorporate abstract themes will combine to produce something beautiful. FROM SKETCHES TO RUNWAY TO LIFE In the midst of making a work of art, it can be easy to forget that it will eventually be worn. Some designers, like Howard and Harold, design with the consideration of wearability; in sewing their pieces and choosing their models, they are creating clothing with a person in mind. Harold, in fact,
wants to make clothing that he himself can wear, making the process of choosing models that much easier: “It’s really funny because [the process of choosing models] ended up being all about my build,” says Harold, “Which is really good, I want these to fit me.” The limited selection of male models to choose from made his job easier, but aside from their body types, he also looked for those with assertive, almost dominant looks, and angular faces and jaws to complement his dark, flowing clothing. For other designers, wearability is hardly considered, if at all. Of course, designers want a model who will display the clothing well. Harrison looks for both a certain aesthetic and attitude, noting that he specifically wants models who are enthusiastic, energetic, very tall, and very thin. “The main focus is on the clothes than the person,” he says. And to see his finished products on the runway--”without falling apart”--is, to him, the most rewarding part of the experience. But it’s more than that: the MODA Spring Show, and the months of preparation and the Designer Boot Camp training leading up to it, leave these student designers with a kind of expertise and experience that is not only unique but also difficult to find in a world that is slowly eliminating the need for learned crafts. With Auto-Tune, Garage Band and Instagram, it seems that we have an app for almost any art. Dan Ackerman, a member of the UChicago improvisational group OffOff Campus, especially finds value in learning hand skills. Improv actors have to do object-work, in which they must realistically mime working with objects in a scene. “There was one day we were assigned to come in and demonstrate something we can do with our hands that no one else knew how to do,” Dan recalls. But, he realized, “there’s not a lot that we can do anymore that’s complex, especially living in an age of iPhones. Really working with a material and making something useful is rare. Making clothing is where those two things intersect.” MODA Spring 2014
Beauty Editor, Lucie Fama, collides neon hues with an edgy flair for this Spring 2014 Makeup Shoot. Photography by Albert Nam. Photographer: Albert Nam Makeup Artist: Lucie Fama Hair: Michelle De Porto Stylists: Amy Risk, Erin Risk Models: Ioana Tesliuc, Jessica Avva, Maya Grever, Maya Hansen Clothing and accessories stylistsâ€™ own.
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
NEON TREES: Left: Ioana Tesliuc, Right: Maya Hansen.
MODA Spring 2014
COLOR STUNNED: Left: Maya Grever. Right: Jessica Avva.
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
The New Lost Generation Drumbar Chicago sets the stage as our models kick it old school in apparel from Hyde Parkâ€™s own Independence store.
MODA Spring 2014
Photographer: Ivy Zhang Stylists: Graham Bachar, David Flomenbaum Models: Arun Abraham-Singh, David Flomenbaum, Vincent Lo Clothing courtesy of Independence Hyde Park
MODA Spring 2014
Inspired by the speak-easies of the 1920s, the Drumbar is a sophisticated, cozy retreat that specializes in scotches, bourbons, and whiskies. Just like the decor, the name of the bar is inspired by prohibition. The connotation is two-pronged, both referencing the means by which people stored alcohol, and the nickname used to identify places that served alcohol. Located at the top of the Raffaello Hotel, come try one of Alex Renshaw's signature cocktails which rotate seasonally. Right now he is featuring a Yesterday's Gone: a mix of rum, sherry, cinnamon, egg white, and lime. In the spring enjoy a different vibe on the terrace, which is modeled after South Beach. 201 East Delaware Place
MODA Spring 2014
Left: Arun Abraham-Singh Right: Vincent Lo
MODA Spring 2014
CLEARED LINES Within the halls of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, we brought clarity to life through the simplicity and elegance of Remi Canarie’s womenswear and menswear from Penelope’s Boutique. Photographer: Ivy Zhang Stylists: Amanya Maloba, Catherine Chen, Frances Chen Makeup Artist: Nadine Menna Models: Theo Shure, Jon Catlin Clothing: Womenswear courtesy of Remi Canarie; Menswear courtesy of Penelope’s Boutique. Accessories stylists’ own.
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
â€œHave your cape and wear it too. A simple cape on a clasic minidress adds just enough linear structure and flair to make an outfit into a statement piece.â€?
MODA Spring 2014
“Clear outerwear is both futuristic and unexpected: perfect to brighten any rainy day.”
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
“Light Shadows: Delicate ombré gives a classic blazer a springtime update.”
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
as Spectacle. The advent of cinema in the early 20th century promised a dazzling new visual experience. With the avant-garde clothes of Agnes Hamerlik and Shelby Steiner, silver-screen drama and thrills come alive at a former 1920s movie house.
MODA Spring 2014
Location: Music Box Theater Chicago Photographer: Ivy Zhang Stylists: Hannah Howcroft, Rebecca Liu, Sonia Chou Makeup Artists: Heather Chan, Caterina Gleijeses Models: Anna Gustafson, Jessica Loo, Sophie Ettinger, Jordan Appel, Adiba Matin Clothing Courtesy of Agnes Hamerlik and Shelby Steiner
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
DARK STAR: Right: Adiba wears pants, top, and scarves (Agnes Hamerlik) Left: Model on right: Jessica wearing top (Shelby Steiner), Pants (Agnes Hamerlik), Fur Shall (Agnes Hamerlik)
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
Onscreen Glamour: Right: Jordan wears corset (Agnes Hamerlik), Skirt (Shelby Steiner). Left: Sophie wears Overalls (Shelby Steiner), Shirt (Agnes Hamerlik), Scarf (Agnes Hamerlik).
MODA Spring 2014
GRAND FINALE: From left to right Jessica: Skirt (Shelby Steiner), Scarf (Agnes Hamerlik), Top (Agnes Hamerlik) - Sophie: Dress, necklace, and scarf (Agnes Hamerlik) - Adiba: Tutus (Agnes Hamerlik) - Anna: Dress: Agnes Hamerlik - Jordan: Dress (Agnes Hamerlik), Scarves (Agnes MODA Spring 2014Hamerlik)
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014
On the Set. Left: Adiba, Right: Anna
â€œI have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich as an expression life as growth. I am fascinated by the language of rust,tarnish,warping, cracking, and peeling...the beauty of things, odd, misshapen, and awkward.â€? ~ Agnes Hamerlik
MODA Spring 2014
MODA Spring 2014