Once again, the Tyler School of Art community came together for the school’s high-energy closing statement of the spring semester to celebrate student work across many of its art disciplines on one dynamic runway
A student models work by Tyler Fibers & Material Studies major Francesca Schnalke at the 2019 Wearable Art Show.
On April 25, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and parents gathered in the Tyler School of Art at Temple University for the 2019 edition of the school’s Wearable Art Show—a culmination of semester-long interdisciplinary planning, thought, creation, collaboration and one-on-one mentorship from influential visiting artist Machine Dazzle.
In its third electrifying year, the free, public event—organized by students in the Fibers & Material Studies classes Body Art and Adornment and Sculptural Garments—showcased some 75 works from nearly three dozen students in Tyler programs like Fibers & Material Studies, Glass and Sculpture and even Temple’s Department of Psychology.
As in previous years, the audience experienced much more than an ordinary fashion show—in fact, they didn't experience fashion at all. “These objects transcend fashion,” said Paige Fetchen, adjunct faculty in Tyler’s Fibers & Material Studies Program and Wearable Art Show program coordinator. “Each year, this show encourages students to think performatively and to create art that transforms the ordinary silhouette.”
The Wearable Art Show showcased works made from a range of media like fabric, glass, custom silicone prosthetics, LED lights and found objects from repurposed furniture to shoe soles and food packaging. Students explored the limits of materials through this year’s theme “Estrenar,” roughly meaning “to wear for the first time” in Spanish.
“I thought estrenar paired well with the show because people hadn't seen these garments being activated yet—there’s been no movement,” said Salma Garcia, a Junior in the Fibers & Material Studies Program who contributed the title of the show.
“I incorporated a lot of mold-making,” Salma said of her garments in the show. “I like to experiment. I also used my paintings for inspiration. The Wearable Art Show is about everything coming together—you as a person, your history and experiences, your catalog of what you’ve been thinking as an artist. It’s all connected.”
Salma and other participants worked with faculty across Tyler as well as with New York-based artist and performer Machine Dazzle, known for his gender-bending costume designs for iconic performance artist Taylor Mac. Machine offered students critiques on their work, such as how to evoke emotion with a garment, as well as insights on performance.
Visiting artist Machine Dazzle works with Fibers & Material Studies major Victoria Fulton at the Tyler School of Art in anticipation of the Wearable Art Show.
“The Wearable Art Show is all-encompassing,” Machine said. “You can mix reality and fantasy. You can create characters and perform dance, conflict or love. It gives reason for the garments. In any one object you can take everything you’ve learned, every skill, and have it represented on the runway. I was so impressed with the technical and conceptual abilities of these students, as well as the facilities—this is really a state-of-the-art school.”
Machine, faculty and students also worked together to construct flowers from fabric, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, recyclable materials and found objects to line the perimeter of the runway that students walked, modeling each wearable art object to a DJ’s thumping beats, activating Tyler’s expansive green hallway.