For one electrifying night each spring, the Tyler School of Art community comes together to celebrate student work across many of its art disciplines on one dynamic runway

The Tyler School of Art's 2018 Wearable Art Show: "Vestments."


On April 25, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and parents will gather 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.

Now in its third year, this free, public event—organized by students in the Fibers & Material Studies classes Body Art and Adornment and Sculptural Garments—will showcase 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, don’t expect an ordinary fashion show—in fact, don’t expect 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. “This show encourages students to think performatively and to create art that transforms the ordinary silhouette.” 

The Wearable Art Show will showcase 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 will explore the limits of materials through this year’s theme “Estrenar,” roughly meaning “to wear for the first time” in Spanish.

“I thought estrenar pairs well with the show because people haven’t seen these garments being activated—there’s been no movement yet,” said Salma Garcia, a Junior in the Fibers & Material Studies program who contributed the title of the show. 

“I’ve been incorporating a lot of mold-making,” Salma said of her garments for the show. “I like to experiment. I’ve also been using 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’ve been 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, activating Tyler’s expansive green hallway. Each wearable art object in the show will be modeled by students and set to a DJ’s thumping beats.

Tyler invites the public to come experience what has rapidly grown into the school’s signature, high-energy closing statement of the spring semester.

2019 Wearable Art Show: “Estrenar”
April 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Green Hallway
2001 N. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122

* Free to the public


Posted by Zachary Vickers

Photo by Temple University Photography/Joseph V. Labolito

Video production: Gina Benigno and Louis Peluyera, Temple University