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Art to Wear 2011

On Tuesday night, students from the NC State student body came together to celebrate the rising prominence of fashion design at the University. What seems like a perfectly natural evolution, given State’s top caliber design and textile programs, has been most popularly recognized during the annual Art to Wear fashion show.

This year is of special significance as it marks the 10th show the two colleges have held, and the growth over the past decade is phenomenal! The first fashion show, held in the Pit on the campus of the College of Design attracted an unexpected (as it was not largely advertised) 250 spectators, and has since seen two venue changes – first, from the Pit to the Court of North Carolina (my favorite venue), then from the Court of North Carolina to the court at Reynolds Coliseum – where the attendance has skyrocketed to over 3000!

The crowd began filing in well before the start time of 7:00 and there was a large amount of anticipation brewing for the 10th anniversary show. The first half featured work from the freshman of the College of Design, a slideshow of work generated at the Prague Institute, a short documentary of the history and development of the show, and work from several of the designers. Much of the work that came from this half included experimental lighting and it’s decorative use on clothing. Sadly, I didn’t get my hands on a program, and thus cannot remember exactly who was where.

The work varied greatly in terms of theme, intent, functionality and style but what was obvious was that the designers poured a lot of time and effort into tailoring beautiful and well crafted items that expressed subtle elegance, precision craftsmanship, and thoughtful expression. Some designers chose to take advantage of reusing objects or clothing, others avoided the garment in a traditional sense, and still others derived inspiration from nature, evolution and living creatures.

This dress, clearly reflecting the pattern of the wings of a monarch butterfly (or is it the viceroy butterfly?). This piece was probably my favorite piece from the show.

Lastly, I should note that the designers again used a VERY wide range of materials for their work. In the past, objects such as PBR cans, tea bags, bent and welded steel, zombie makeupand pizza boxes have all been explored. However, I feel safe in saying that this years show was the first to have a dress made of roadkill.

The 2011 show marks an important milestone for Art to Wear, and the directors were careful not to understate the the importance of the show. From the first fashion show I attended, in 2004, this program has expanded and flourished and gone far beyond anyone’s imagination at that time. Since the first fashion show that I attended, it has grown wider, larger, more impressive and more important each year. The popularity of Art to Wear has inspired others in Raleigh to hold their own fashion shows, and with the fashion shows at SparkCon and other events, Raleigh’s fashion scene is gaining momentum and I believe it owes quite a bit to the hard working students who put on Art to Wear every year. If you’ve never gone to an Art to Wear show, do yourself a favor and plan on going to the 2012 show. You won’t regret it!

For more information on the show, how to become a sponsor, past photos, as well as links to the designers and their blogs/webpages, PLEASE visit the NCSU Art to Wear web site.


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