(Re)Fashioning Fiber Exhibit on NOW at Greenspaces, NYC

If you can’t make it to NYC, check out my visual tour of the (Re)Fashioning Fiber Exhibit

Abigail Doan curated the (Re) Fashioning Fiber exhibit (now through August 13th at Greenspaces in Manhattan) because she thought that among eco fashion and sustainable style showcases, there wasn’t enough focus on the basics- the very fibers that make up our clothes, and whose creation has a significant environmental impact.

Before clothes are sewn, the fibers are grown (cotton, hemp), manufactured (polyester, Tencel) or raised (silk, wool). And depending on the textile, they are dyed or processed and then knit, woven, or manufactured. All of this happens before it even happens into the hands of a garment worker, who cuts, sews, and creates a piece of clothing for us (hopefully at a fair wage).

Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard/Eko-Lab crocheted mixed media piece

By looking more closely at the fibers themselves, the artists deconstructed them in such a way as to get to the roots of what they were truly made of (a floor installation reminded one of nothing more than an unwinding ball of yarn seen from ants’-eye-view). From recycled yarns and reused ‘waste’ textiles to upcycled hoola hoops and vintage jewels and hemp, creative reuse was exemplified in each of the pieces.

Abigail Doan’s Fiber Flotsam Colony (2010) (floor installation)
materials: recycled household fibers and wood, handspun yarn, vintage threads, laces, vegetation,
street flotsam, beeswax, seeds, recycled jewelry parts
and Renata Mann’s knit rope crafted out of recycled yarns and light parts

SPECIFICS: Collaborative environmental fiber art from Iran; handcrafted vegetation jewelry from Bulgaria; sustainable, locally-minded fashion and drawings by Eko-Lab; no-waste textile fashion by Study NY; recycled ‘flotsam fiber’ from the streets of NYC; handmade books spinning tales about a global pilgrimage; crochet tower structures infused with sound; and one-of-a-kind fiber expressions from the domestic realm.

From L to R: Abigail Doan, Curator; Kaori Yamazaki, fiber artist and designer, Kate McGregor, proprietress of Kaight boutique; Starre Vartan, publisher of Eco Chick; Meiling Chen, fiber artist and designer; Melissa Kirgan, fiber artist and designer

WHO: Invited artists and designers include: Abigail Doan, Atefeh Khas (Iran), Brece Honeycutt, Ceca Georgeiva (Bulgaria), Abigail McEnroe, Kaori Yamazaki, Mackenzie Frère (Canada), Matt Pass, Melissa Kirgan, Meiling Chen, Michelle Vitale Loughlin, Renata Mann, Sibyll Kalff (Germany), Tara St. James, Tara Goodarzy, Xing-Zhen Chung. Unless indicated, all other artists/designers are U.S. based.

MORE: For a breakdown of the individual artist’s work, links to their blogs and sites, and always prescient and interesting commentary by Abigail, check out her blog.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.