wondering...about the wonders of this wonderfull...world

wondering...about the wonders of this wonderfull...world
foto x arnaldo @MMXIproject
A couple of summers ago, coming home from class, I took the subway with a friend and I told her I was trying to start a blog... then I also told her how time consuming and addicting it had become, and that I was wondering if it was something worth doing... she laughed and asked me to let her know when I was done and give her the"link" so she could read it. Then she left and I kept thinking...why? why should I do this ?

Technology has taken us to a new level and we are now, able to "publish ourselves"! PUBLISH OURSELVES however we want to; if you want to be yourself, transparent and out in the open, or even if you want to pretend to be someone else... YOU CAN! Now you can blog and share your thoughts and experiences with people without having them "altered" by the editors, or "chosen" because of how cool or marketable they are...

This space is for us to share; zaidibirindilindilandia-my own little world, my ingenious- and your thoughts!

welcome, and thank you!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

MMXIproject_post-event POST!

This past may (26) the MMXIproject collective held a one-night exhibition (gallery style) event at the Tribeca Grand hotel in New York City.

As some of you may know... This was MMXIproject's first event ever and hopefully not the last.

The MMXIproject is a collective formed by Amabelle Aguilluz, Samantha Benassai, Nicole Girion, Zaida Goveo (me) , Michelle Sordi and Mary Symczack.

We met while studying abroad at the Politecnico di Milano, in Italy. Good friendships were born. We used to get together to work on our respective projects and constructively criticize, bounce ideas off each other, and above all, motivate and inspire.

Europe treated us too well. It gave us the time to work on more profound, well-researched and not superficial projects; to question ourselves and the things we thought we knew and believed in. We became more introspective and discerning designers.

When we came back to New York, although excited, we struggled to fit back in. It was our last year (at FIT) and all we wanted was some creative freedom- after all, this was just school, and a perfect time to experiment and take risks. We wanted to keep researching and create things of greatest quality... but the relentless system in which the "fashion" industry and our industry-driven school was run did not permit this.

Upon our return we (Milan) students were immediately pointed out. Teachers would ask "are you MILAN?", if we approached a project differently or asked a question, then: "oh, that's because you're Milan"... which made us feel a bit concerned about our time abroad, and wonder if we had really missed out on that much. The truth is that things just work-differently on opposite continents, and either is completely efficient or correct. Unfortunately, New York was more interested in what we had NOT done rather than what we could contribute- whereas we saw that a balance between the European and "American" approach was necessary.

During our 7th/penultimate semester  we had a portfolio class which should've helped us develop our thesis collections (at least conceptually). However, we were forced to work on 3 separate -and totally different- "collections" in a matter of 4 months. Personally, I wasn't satisfied with any of my 3 projects. I needed more research time as the concepts were still at a very preliminary stage- and still too superficial for my taste-. But I wanted to meet the deadlines and get through the semester while juggling an internship, a job, and 6 more classes- so I tried to put my stubbornness aside and "just do the silly projects" for school.

I was not the only one on this boat, and it seemed that the only people that though there was something "wrong" with this rhythm were my "study abroad" peers.
We knew that everyone's goal was to get in to the Senior Fashion Show in the end of the year and then get any entry level job in the "industry". Those were not our goals, we had bigger goals.
A bit of background: 
Only 1/3 of the graduating class gets into the BFA show. The garments are pre-judged by your teacher and a critic (designer) from the industry (who had been monitoring/helping us throughout the semester) and will select the "best" work from your group/specialization. Then these garments are put out for judging by a group of industry professionals who are judging according to their own personal criteria.

Because there is so much pressure regarding the participation in the BFA show, I feel that people were more concentrated on making garments that would GET INTO THE SHOW (that their professor liked, the critic liked, and were perhaps more"sellable" ) than on creating garments that reflected their individuality as designers, their vision, and that would ultimately be a strong piece to add to their portfolios. All semester/year long I heard endless discussions about how "the teacher didn't like it", or  "now I have to change my whole concept because the professor said the judges wouldn't understand it", or "how your garment looks beautiful in the white-jersey prototype fabric because it looks like a "Calvin Klein piece" but if you use your japanese-artisanal paper yarn it will look too rugged" (excuse me, but that can beautiful too; not all of us want to be "cookie cutter" designers).

If you make it into the show, then your garment will walk down the runway. 
For this show your outfit will be styled as the show producers wish (even if a weird peter-pan style hat or a gold-sequined bag have nothing to do with your look), you will get two tickets to the "rehearsal" show (you only get to see the 7pm -nicer show-  if you are a critic award winner) and one of those tickets is for you, AND when your model starts walking, people in the audience won't know who is the designer unless they've been looking at the program (instead of the runway) and can understand the bizarre description they chose for it which is something like "green recycled cotton bubble stitch dress"!!!

I had decided in the beginning of the semester that I was not going to compromise my vision to please the judges and get into the show... I took advice from the critic, professors and classmates, but stayed true to my vision- and fortunately enough, did make  it into the show-.
The "Milan" girls and I, wanted to be able to show our work in an environment with no boundaries, no labels, no expectations or predefined ideas of what we "should" be exhibiting. We wanted to break away from the pressures of school and the industry and do something for ourselves individually and honor the strength we had collectively- and so- the MMXIproject was born.

We wrote a MANIFESTO, and paired up with Dave Kirshoff (industrial design) who helped us on the "curatorial side" and built custom display units according to what we were showing. We exhibited a range of mediums that express the design sensibilities of each designer including textile development, photography, inspiration research, sketches, and actual garments.

one of David Kirshoff creations for our displays. he really understood where we were coming from and what we wanted to show people!
This YEAR's presentation's theme was TRANSITION; as MMXIproject (meaning the 2011project) is reflecting the transition we are going through- from students to young professionals, from designers to artists (or vice-versa), from NY to Milan to NY....

We wanted to present the projects not only as final products of a technical craft, but to show the research and thought process to parallel the final result.Thus, one room was dedicated to finalized work (this is where our installations were; and the other room was the sketchbook room. In the sketchbook room  we created collaged walls of inspiration images, fabric scraps, writing, and other odds and ends (to allow our public to see where it all really comes from),  we had our sketchbooks showing design development/research, and a cocktail area for people to enjoy and mingle.
room with "installations"
the collage/sketchbook room
Many thanks to Harold @ the Tribeca Grand, David Kirshoff, Jorge Balmaseda (for the website), Auralis and Arnaldo (for covering the event and their article for elpunto es), Tara St.James (for the support and help spreading the word), and the numerous people who came to support us and share that special night.

An image gallery of the event's pictures will be up sometime soon... meanwhile, enjoy these:

people looking at my spices "some of the ingredients I used to dye the garments"
part of my presentation. shoes I "weathered". photo by Arnaldo Vargas x El punto Es
mossformations_dress. museling-free wool, handpainted with greener®dyes and hand embroidered

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

post-summer report

This summer was amazing and eventful; and I know I completely dissappeared from the face of this blogging-earth....

I've recently graduated from FIT with a BFA in Fashion Design:Knitwear Specialization, and a Minor in Italian Studies- finally!-.
After finishing an amazing internship at STUDY NY (with Tara St. James), and putting together an art-gallery event at the Tribeca Grand with a designer's collective I'm part of (MMXIproject), I headed to Europe...

I was chosen as a finalist for an international competition called Mittelmoda which gave me  the amazing opportunity of showcasing my work in a runway in Italy. I left for Italy in the begining of June, and after attending my first Italian wedding, and going to the beach for 3 days in Tuscany; my batteries were re-charged and ready to go to Milan to work some crazy hours and finish knitting my collection.

After the competition, I went back to Florence, to my "adoptive" family, and waited to attend Pitti Filati (an amazing yarn show). I have to write a long-overdue post on that too, but that will be on a new "knitting/yarn" blog that I'm working on.

A few weeks later I went to London for a bit:  I worked on my CV and website (which is FINALLY up now), did some eco-fashion research, and was freelancing for Kimmiekakes while preparing for the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris where my work was exhibited and "represented" FIT in "its" Sustainability efforts.

Europe has always given me the chance to express myself, and this is one of the places where I feel my work is most embraced and respected. However (and unfortunately), because I am an american citizen, there are difficult immigration/bureaucratic issues and geographical barriers to face- which is why I am back in New York... and re-planning my future.
enjoy the next series of posts- I owed you big time!