The weekend of February 26th, while most of the world was glued to winter Olympic broadcasts, and Canadian athletes won gold for their nation, an astounding Calgarian victory was achieved. Though it is doubtful you would have heard talk of it around the water cooler the following Monday morning, the tenth annual artAWEARness wearable art fashion show at ACAD marked a decade of local artists showcasing remarkable talent in decorating the human form; with designs that evoke emotion, delight the audience, and at times, take your breath away.
The sheer talent of the student designers has fuelled its growth and popularity since its inception in 2000, when former ACAD student Natalie Gerber decided to create an annual forum for the display of art as fashion.
The artAWEARness show has come a long way since its meagre beginnings, now gaining sponsorship from local businesses such as PK sound, Swizzlesticks Salon and several local art galleries.This year, with 14 designers and a horde of models showcasing designs that utilize a wide variety of materials, shapes, and themes, the evening provided thrills through fashion, music, and dance. With a reputation for the beautiful and bizarre, this year’s cast of designers did not disappoint, presenting the audience with a series of highly memorable wearable art collections.
The night is not one solely dedicated to entertainment, and some members of the large crowd the event attracts may not be aware of the competitive nature of the evening. Students vie for a position in the coveted event, and their collections are judged in a variety of categories deeming them as most entertaining, best performance, and so on. This spirit of competition provides a fitting reward for the raw talent. However, the warm reception that the event’s bubbly founder, Gerber, receives as she hosts the show, suggests our city’s love for fashion and the arts as the reason the event has endured for so long.
The show itself was a diverse spectrum. First down the runway was the Carnivalesque collection by Jessica Seward, whose ‘bearded lady’ and candy floss frock remind us of the strange, yet captivating nature of the cirque. Ashleigh Moore & Lowell Smith presented Submerge, an otherworldly interpretive performance combining flounced skirts in rich fabrics, and translucent tear drop chest pieces fitted with lights for a dazzling performance.
The evening was not all serious, with Katie Kimber sending her peppy handful of models down the runway, literally popping out of their popcorn-esque costumes, and putting a smile on many a face with The Orville Series. Jessica Armstrong presented an exceptionally beautiful menagerie of models turned sea life a la Lady Ocean. A theme of the evening was a cheeky and disarming reworking of costume to suggest the naked human form, as presented by Yvonne Kustec in Skin, Fat & Flesh, and Nickie Burdett in Right to Bare Arms.
The artAWEARness show once again succeeded in creating an evening of fashion exceptionally enhanced by the imagination of our city’s brightest young artists. One of our most anticipated events of the year, this show has garnered much deserved praise as an outlet for creativity, and as an event that never ceases to impress.
Photos by Ben Tsui Media Inc
Video by Benjamin Hayden & Paul Spenard