40 international designers imagine “workwear” for hypothetical professions – a whimsical critique on the fashionization of work clothes – on view at the The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC) at The New School’s Parsons School of Design presents “Workwear/Abiti da Lavoro”, an exhibition of experimental garments –“work clothes” made for imaginary professions – dedicated to revolutionary Italian fashion designer Elio Fiorucci (1935–2015) whose work is also in the exhibition.
“Today’s designers, including the forty in this exhibition, work amid epochal changes – the decline of the great masters and of the small factories of fine Italian design and the rise of giant global entities and the fragmentation of traditional centers of industry,” said Italian designer Alessandro Guerriero, curator of “Workwear/Abiti da Lavoro”. “Though many jobs have disappeared, the garments associated with them have not. What we are experiencing now is the elevation of workwear to high fashion. This irony is explored by designers through new visions of workwear: what would clothes look like not only for bakers, carpenters and tailors, but also for an email eraser, a butterfly engineer, or the one who looks for a needle in a haystack?”
“Workwear/Abiti da Lavoro” is the brainchild of Guerriero, who originally created the exhibition to support Arkadia Onlus, an educational organization that works with young people with disabilities. Twelve designers in the exhibition provided sketches of imaginary work clothes, which were then sewed by the young people of Arkadia Onlus.
“This sly and playful exhibition takes labor as its laboratory, proposing new jobs and new garments to inhabit” said Radhika Subramaniam, Director/Chief Curator of the SJDC. “The critique it wears so lightly has much to say to our work as educators of future designers.”
The designers in the exhibition include Nathalie Du Pasquier, Elio Fiorucci, Mella Jaarsma, Guda Koster, Toshiyuki Kita, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Issey Miyake, Angela Missoni, Faye Toogood, Vivienne Westwood, Erwin Wurm, and Parsons faculty members, Otto von Busch and Allan Wexler, among others.
until April 18, 2016
Workwear/Abiti da Lavoro
curated by Alessandro Guerriero
produced by Fondazione La Triennale di Milano
in collaboration with Parsons School of Design
exhibition design by Manuel Miranda Practice
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
2 West 13th St., New York