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~ Armando Nin & the “Sham-Shows”.. frame #1

Today I woke up in odd mood and decided to release one image from my “Sham-Show” collection. None of these copies ever touched the internet. There are a total of six endorsements that are more humorous than the last and I’ll feature on STP every so often, with more context perhaps (even though its self explanatory). Each were a public announcement that I considered as a hoax but the undertaking was evident. Each bulletin was commercially exhibited near each gallery/institution and received no true consequence.

~ Armando Visits art. #1

As you know, I systematically drop in museums and art galleries in New York City. It’s very entertaining and also, in some way, I get to imitate the act of “falling in love”.

In the past, There has been countless times where I didn’t enjoy the work but I went with intentions are to sit with and appreciate the art. At this moment, these are my recent visits and favorites (in no particular order) in the lower Manhattan area:

Ryan Foerster at Martos Gallery
Jane Dickson at James Fuentes
Lukas Quietzszch at Ramiken
Jake Manning at TIf Sigfrids
David Worjarowicz at P.P.O.W
Nora Torato at 52 Walker
Mary Manning at Canada
Emily Weiner at Brackett Creek Exhibitions

I will be visiting more galleries in the next few days and will keep you all in the loop!

Hope to see you at an opening! Thanks!

~ Witching Hour w/ art dealer Kendra Jayne Patrick 

Witching Hour w/ art dealer Kendra Jayne Patrick

Marissa Delano: Typically your itinerant gallery programming is based in New York, but since the spring you’ve been quarantined in Switzerland with Ernst [boyfriend] and his family. Can you describe the ease or difficulty of working remotely and from overseas?

Kendra Jayne Patrick: The most difficult aspect is the time difference. It has also been hard as an American to watch from another country as the economic and political situation continues to unravel in America. I found myself envying Swiss life where you can be a regular person because the government’s everyday systems work for you. It’s been a mixed bag, but I am appreciative to be somewhere that’s relatively safe from all the chaos. 

MD:  Your article Twenty-First Century Occupational Adjustments and Considerations, recently published by Yard Concept’s Power Issue, presents the strip club as a site of freedom, particularly for black women. I found it insightful in terms of negotiating agency in a culture where women are taught to be afraid of sex. It also seemed to join the conversation during a time in which we are reimagining labor practices. Do you plan to write more on the topic or any adjacent issues?

KJP:  With respect to writing about the strip club, my interest comes from being one of the college-age millennials in Atlanta partying at Magic City with full awareness that our mothers would have never ever set foot in a strip club! Magic City, in particular, was a cultural mecca for the trap era of hip-hop. My interest in this space has been renewed because of the way strip club aesthetics are modeled and embodied by main-stream female rappers.

Kenya (Robinson)  Paper Rain (for Invocation Proclamation Manifesto 2 & 3), 2017  performance at Gibney Dance Center

<<>>

What I really care about is Black women having real freedom of choice, and I want to explore more avant garde notions of what that looks like. Present day strip clubs offer a certain kind of economic and corporeal autonomy for black women whose economic status means that they must work with their bodies for a living. Considering that we are living through one of the shittiest economic contexts of the past fifty years, I’ll continue to write about and explore places where these themes intersect, especially as it applies to black womanhood. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the triangulation between money, patriarchy, and female labor are the subject of so much mainstream female rap. 

MD: I wonder what kinds of things the strip club and the art world have in common. For instance, the way money largely passes from the hands of old white men to the hands of other old white men seems to be a shared mode of operation. Money is often acquired by way of unsavory business practices as in arms dealing or tax evasion.

KJP: Again, female rap is very clear on who has the money, which is a good starting point for having a coherent macro-economic position. I think the observation that money largely comes from older white men whose income sources we largely ignore is also right. It is interesting that it’s okay for men like Warren Kanders to be a warlord of sorts, but then questions abound about why a woman might choose to be a stripper; so many dudes were incensed By Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s song “WAP!” 

MD: Do you find that your writing informs your curatorial process or vice versa?

KJP: Writing has always been a really helpful space for me to work through ideas. It’s challenging to even imagine curating without writing because they inform one another. When you write, you really have to work through your ideas to assess whether they’re logical; if they make sense together and just how they fit together.  All of the above informs what I choose to show, so I would say they’re completely intertwined. 

MD: Resilience usually registers as a positive quality, but how much of it is exploitative and ignores real narratives of growth, oppression and healing? I’m thinking about the added layers of expectation applied to Black women in the art world. Alongside the presence of overt racism, there are so many instances in which people fail to give them the respect, decency, oh and money, they’re fairly owed. 

KJP: My first impulse is to say that on some level, it feels so Black? I love the @changethemuseum account and the @cancelartgalleries accounts on instagram so much because in a lot of ways they validate my and so many other Black people’s experiences in these spaces, as if to say, “you’re not crazy,” “you’re not making this all up.” 

MD: I fall more on the skeptical side. It happens all the time in institutions, office settings and even interpersonal relationships that Black women specifically bear more of the workload. This workload is comprised of both physical and psychological labor and yet at the end of the day, we’re still seeing discrepancies with fair compensation. Black women in the US currently earn 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. How much are you valued, by who, and why? What are the means and merits for this value?

KJP: That’s why this idea of contemporary female rap borrowing its aesthetics so heavily from the strip club, starting conversations about the hard truth about who controls economic, political, and environmental resources, is actually very important. I do think that the one element regarding the institutional and commercial responses to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement that’s been really disheartening to see is that even at the Witching Hour, many institutions can only muster a position of pure instrumentalisation.

Stills from Magic City

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MD: Again at the Whitney, they just can’t figure shit out. As recently as last month, the now cancelled exhibition Collective Actions: Artist Interventions In A Time of Change, proved to be another half-hearted attempt at solidarity. The Whitney’s gesture fell short, particularly the museum’s lack of appropriate compensation for the scheduled BIPOC artists. A few of the artists were offered a mere hundred dollars as compensation! That’s less than the weekly unemployment right now, even after it was reduced to a fraction of minimum wage back in August. Which is still like-

KJP: No Money! 

MD: It’s less than a third of a minimum living wage, which is like nothing.

KJP: It is important to be clear on what, exactly, any given wage/compensation/artist’s membership at a museum will net you in your real life. Even now, during a pandemic, when so many people aren’t working for various reasons, I heard a lot of hoopla about the $600/week an amount encroaching on a meaningful living wage in any given American city – effectively being “too much” compensation for someone who isn’t working. This suggests, to me anyway, that a living wage is controversial if you don’t have an executive level job, which is a terrible state of affairs. Even Congress thinks its “too much” money.  

MD: They (congress members) were going on vacation, “BYE!”

KJP: Yes! It’s just an unbelievable situation where people with money are being really stingy and harsh with respect to ensuring that a regular person doesn’t have to struggle or have a bad life because they aren’t or don’t want to be rich. Why is the current debate now centered on having to justify why you should not be in poverty? It really makes me upset. 

MD: I know. It’s a whole mixed bag of emotions, as you mentioned earlier. I’m wondering, despite and in light of the turmoil that takes place on a daily basis, what are your current or upcoming projects?

KJP: I curated an exhibition for Metro Pictures online that opened this month and is on view through November. I’m continuing on, and I feel lucky to be busy. I am really excited about this exhibition because there is some significant philosophical overlap in programming and art that I really got to explore with the show. 

MD: And at the end of September you have something with the Houston Center of Photography?

KJP: On September 24th, I have an online talk with the newest artist on my roster, Arden Surdam. She is a fascinating photographer and we’ll be doing a talk about her new monograph, Glut, with the Houston Center of Photography. The publication extends the artist’s visual analysis and research on taste, specifically the taste-based hierarchies that arouse from 18th and 19th century European still -life painting. 

Arden Surdam The Buffet, 2019 Archival Inkjet Print 24 x 16 inches || 61 x 41 centimeters

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MD: That’s something I was thinking about too, because you have been an itinerant gallery for years. What are your thoughts on adapting to this mode? It  seems to have provided you with so much freedom to be flexible.

KJP: Having an itinerant program requires adaptability; I feel like I’m a house guest every time. There’s always something new to learn about the site and the space, always surprising commonalities between my programming and my host’s. In this particular climate, it’s fun to toggle between real life and the internet because one can do things on the internet that are hard to do in person, and vice versa. For example, the show I’m doing for Metro Pictures would be a serious logistical undertaking in person, but online you can combine any works with relatively little installation or consignment drama. On the digital stage, you can work through ideas and even guide your viewers’ experience in a totally different way. 

MD: What books are you reading? What are you watching and/or consuming for entertainment?  

KJP: I’m not reading anything right now! I’ve been up to my eyeballs in deadlines and new opportunities so reading has, unfortunately, been on the back burner. A mentor recently suggested that I read the Plutocrats, though, because I told him that I wanted to re-read The Theory of the Leisure Classwhile I’m here, in the site of old European money and wealth (Switzerland). Reality TV-wise, I’ve been watching Love & Marriage: Huntsville on the OWN channel. I also just started watching Million Dollar Beach House, because real estate reality TV cracks me up. It’s not as fun as the crew on Selling Sunset. My very Swiss boyfriend thinks that Americans and our sexy, sensational, true crime shows are so gross and therefore refuses to “participate in this with [me],” so I’m starting the new Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix without him. 

MD: I started watching the Epstein series on Netflix, if you’re into true crime it is terrifying. 

KJP: The real true crime is a podcast that I’m listening to right now called Nice White Parents, it’s a real trip. It  makes very clear the ways that white people and families are the economic and bureaucratic priority in America and that it’s never been any different. Chana Joffe-Walt says, “The biggest influence on the entirety of the American school system are the preferences and whims of white parents.” It’s unbelievable. And the show illustrates that this prioritization starts at the very beginning of all American children’s introduction to social life. I feel like everybodyin America should be listening to this. 

MD: Very true! That being said, any closing notes?

KJP: Recessions are a good time to re-examine, re-think and refresh, and I think that is something that we need in the art world. I want to see VR exhibitions. I want to see us use the digital stage to its full potential and maximize its native features, despite the fact that we all know that it’s better to be able to stand in front of a painting. I’m ready to be razzled and dazzled.

~ Reclaiming ‘Bimbo’ with Biz Sherbert and Carol Li 

Reclaiming ‘Bimbo’ with Biz Sherbert and Carol Li

Biz Sherbert is a writer who focuses on fashion theory and history. She is also the creator of the Bimbo Theory Book Club. Much of her latest work follows Gen Z online-based aesthetics and subcultures.  She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BA in Art History. You can find more of her work on Instagram and her website.

Carol Li is a multidisciplinary artist and writer from New York. She works with themes of collection, image-hoarding, and treasure through sculptors and jewelry making. She holds a BFA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts and is currently a resident of SPUR.world, exploring avatar-building and extensions of online personas. You can find her work on carol-li.com and jankyjewels.store, and lurk through her social media at @bamboo_killer and@janky_jewels on Instagram. 

Tyler Nicole Glenn (they/them) is a visual artist and writer based in Tampa, Florida. They are a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts, where they received their BFA in Fine Arts with Honors. They’ve invited Sherbert and Li to conduct an interview-style “studio visit” to foster community through virtual space. Their goals are to expand the notion of what is classified as “art” and connect other people to like-minded creators. You can find them online through their Instagram or their website.

Tyler Nicole Glenn: What experiences influenced your trajectory and brought you where you are today? 

Carol Li: As cliche as it is, growing up in New York has really shaped the way I operate in my jewelry and other studio practice. A lot of it is inspired by landscapes that exist in New York. For example, my silicone sculptures are inspired by Chinatown basement malls. All the objects and trinkets from when I started making jewelry are just toys that I found in the claw machines. I was taking apart toys from the claw machines and quarter machines outside the laundromat. Those are important landmarks that follow me and are a big influence on how I work and look at creation. 

Janky Jewels by Carol Li
Janky Jewels by Carol Li

And of course, the Internet. Just having been on the Internet since I was 6 years old, I was viewing a lot of the Internet imagery parallel to the way that people view religious imagery. They hold this sort of magic to it. A lot of it is recognizable, in a way that transcends religion.

Biz Sherbert: So for a lot of my life I was trudging through the mud. I was a very confused person. In college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like I was an artist and I didn’t feel like I was a writer. I didn’t feel like I was anything. I’ve always been very observant and found a lot of joy and nuance in the way people dressed.

Then I started studying art history. FIT has a really cool museum, the only strictly fashion museum in New York. I was exposed to fashion theory and history through the museum and a really cool group of academics and scholars that work there.

I was thinking about fashion all the time but I didn’t understand what to do with those thoughts. Then I started getting into Mark Fisher, and thinking about fashion criticism in a different way. Especially how it relates to the economy and culture. I started seeing fashion as a way to assess, analyze, and critique the effects of neoliberalism. That was when things started to click for me. 

https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6855071410860182789?lang=en-US&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fstp.world%2Fblogs%2Feditorial%2Freclaiming-bimbo-with-biz-sherbert-and-carol-li

TNG:  Biz, in your book club, Bimbo Theory Book Club, what kind of books have you been reading? Is it more theory-driven or narrative driven? 

BS: Well, I put her on a big hiatus a couple months ago. I felt like there were other things to focus on. 

A good place for people to start with about fashion in a more critical way is Anne Hollander. That’s the OG. She’s an amazing fashion historian and theorist. We read Seeing Through Clothes which is a massive book that changed my life. The rest of it is rare fashion history or fashion theory pdfs. It’s more of a resource than an active dialogue right now, but it has been really fun and cool! 

CL: There was one quote I remember racking my brain on. 

BS: Was it the Renee Barts one? “If dress is a social form, as surrogate for the body, it also partakes of the body’s relation to psyche and form. As a surrogate for the body, it also partakes of the body’s relation to psyche and desire. 

Clothing is a compound medium and critical axis of the social (law), the sexual (fantasy), the figural (representation) and the individual (will and desire)” 

CL: It really reminded me of something that I was working on for a paper. Angela McRobbie writes about disguise as a form of protection and a way of getting what you want. 

“The new masquerade draws attention self-consciously to its own crafting and performance, and this space of reflexivity is also suggestive of deep ambivalence. The post-feminist masquerade is a knowing strategy which emphasizes its non-coercive status, it is a highly styled disguise of womanliness now adopted as a matter of personal choice. But the theatricality of the masquerade, the silly hat, the too short skirt, are once again means of emphasizing, as they did in classic Hollywood comedies, female vulnerability, fragility, uncertainty and the little girl’s “desire to be desired.” 

TNG: Who are your influences?

BS: My influences are Mark Fisher, Anne Hollander, and Tansy Hoskins. [Hoskins] writes about fashion culture through a Marxist lens. On a visual level, I’m really inspired by two of my friends. One of them, my friend Win. Then, my friend Riley Hanson, who is a painter. 

CL: Hannah Levy does really awesome silicone pieces. I went to see her show and she is a master at what she does. Donna Harraway and Angela McRobbie are the women I read and live by. Harraway writes a lot about cyborg feminism and I always translate that back and forth in my work. Online, one of my favorite people to look at is a friend of mine, Ali Bonfils. Her work is sort of gaudy. It’s uncanny but it’s also really beautiful, magical, and wonderland-ish. 

In real life, my dad’s a jeweler so I grew up watching him make jewelry. He makes wedding rings and really pretty dainty necklaces. I think that I’m most inspired by his setup and his ethic. It’s also the way he talks about and looks at jewelry. It really reflects how I operate. 

BS: That’s a great one. I feel like parents are big on our lives. 

CL: We didn’t have that great of a relationship until I started making jewelry. It’s a really funny relationship that we have now. 

BS: It’s a craft and praxis based relationship! 

CL: Yeah! He sometimes has a hard time understanding because it’s very kitschy and it’s mostly costume jewelry, but I think he understands the appeal there. He didn’t really start taking me seriously until I started making money from it. 

When you’re growing up you never want to be like your parents, so it was never something that I was interested in, but my first job was making jewelry for this company at one of those Chelsea Market places. I started selling vintage jewelry and then I started making jewelry for other designers. It was something that kept falling into my lap. At a certain point, I was like ‘maybe the universe is trying to hint something to me.’ I kept doing it because it is something I’m good at, and of course, I love it.

Janky Jewels by Carol Li
Janky Jewels by Carol Li

TNG: So you both are recent grads. Did you have a peer group in your institution who were exploring these concepts with you? Did your professors get what you were trying to say when you would speak to them about these things? 

BS: The short answer is, not really. But it was kind of my own fault because I was really shy in school. My peers were more interested in traditional art history mediums and they weren’t that into relating that to fashion or pop culture. The only people I was really able to explore these concepts with were people I met online. That was really big for me! The professors I worked with were great, and a huge influence on the way I think. I would roughly explain what I was [doing] to them every once in a while. I think they were really interested in hearing my voice but because this was a field that I was so unfamiliar with because of its limited size and scope, I didn’t feel very confident expressing ideas. 

CL: I have a similar experience! I was also very shy but only inside of school. I don’t consider myself a shy person. I think I was insecure about where I stood academically and how my interests aligned. I never felt quite as smart as people I went to school with. I think every school and department has its flaws, strengths, and weaknesses. My school’s department tried really hard to move forward in this new way of educating and teaching, but the art history references and art criteria were still very antiquated. I wouldn’t say I got a lot from school, if I’m being completely honest. 

It was through the Internet and Biz’s Bimbo Theory Book Club that I was met with a successful peer group. I asked a question really relevant to my thesis and I got a lot of good feedback. 

BS: Oh my god! Yes! That really was the moment I felt very connected to that project. 

CL: It was really really amazing for me because I was struggling so hard just talking to my professors! They were really understanding. Like, at least they were trying. It was speaking to a specific culture that you can’t even begin to understand unless you’re immersed in it. How do you explain “I’m baby” to a middle-aged man? 

BS: They don’t know how to talk about Gen Z Culture!

https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6823152692706217222?lang=en-US&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fstp.world%2Fblogs%2Feditorial%2Freclaiming-bimbo-with-biz-sherbert-and-carol-li

CL: Yeah! They don’t have a lot of knowledge on the theory and the cultural critique behind it. It was really interesting being in a forum with like-minded people because I tried posting it on Reddit and it got taken down byr/feminism. 

BS: I was so amazed about how people were going off in response to that prompt. That probably boosted your confidence to know that people were like ‘yes this is a thing that’s happening and here’s how it affects my life and here’s how I perpetuate it.’ 

CL: I also personally felt a lot of shame through perpetuating this “I’m baby;” infantilizing myself. I felt like I was being anti-woman for a really long time. When I asked the questions at the book club, the responses came in quickly and people were giving really in-depth responses! It was just something you never get at school! There wasn’t much conversation between me and my peers at school. Everybody stuck to their own little nook. 

TNG: Do you believe there’s power in self-infantilization; “I’m baby,” culture? 

CL: While it’s easy to say no, it’s harder to say yes, and then no. Angela McRobbie talks really in-depth about how we’re entering a cultural domain where if you walk into a workspace you will see women working in the same caliber as men. That threatens a lot of men. McRobbie talks about using one’s femininity as persuasion and protection. Making yourself seem weaker, more infantile, a little ditzy in order to save yourself from men. Men are more likely to be kinder because they feel they’re in control. It’s a form of taking control in a very covert way. 

We’re seeing a moment where a lot of young women are using straight cis men’s obsession with the infantile to get money, to get jobs. I think there’s power in that but there’s only power in that if you decide you are okay with being treated like you’re subservient. Too often we see people being pushed and pressured into this realm of sex-positivity when they’re not comfortable with that. If you’re not comfortable with it, then it really demolishes the entire premise of reclaiming the power. Power doesn’t necessarily mean you are obviously on top. Historically, the real power is always behind the scenes. It’s a complicated answer that is not one-size-fits-all. 

BS: I really like what you just said about people feeling they have to be sex-positive rather than being sex-neutral or sex critical. 

Mixed-Media Sculpture by Carol Li
Mixed-Media Sculpture by Carol Li

CL: Elaine Showalter talks about this thing called a three-phase taxonomy within feminism. Neoliberalism is third-phase feminism, disguised as progressivism. It describes the moral responsibility that many women feel to enter traditionally male-dominated spaces and opportunities. Right now we’re in the land of sex-positivity which is great but also really hard on a lot of teenage girls that feel this is the rite of passage. That’s not necessarily a passage for everyone. Growing up, I was feeling a lot of pressure to be sexually active to participate in the sex-positivity but I was fifteen. It’s really different now where I’m a lot older and I feel a lot more comfortable. But 15-year-olds should not be — 

BS: Encouraged to pursue sexual pleasure with no critical thought about the potential emotional or physical consequences. That’s how I very much feel as well. 

CL: It’s really what gives you peace of mind. 

BS: Peace of mind is really important. I don’t think its discussed enough when people talk about sex-positivity, body-positivity, and self-care. Self-criticism is very normal and can lead you to a place where you have peace of mind. 

CL: Precisely! Something I forgot to bring up is that sometimes self-infantilization can be pointless if you’re just constantly perceived as infantile. I’m a very small person and I don’t necessarily have the choice of whether or not to be infantilized. That was sort of where my research began- when I decided I would succumb to this oppression. Regardless, I will feel like a baby no matter what. With the choice to self-infantilize, you’re at least reclaiming it and using it to your fullest advantage. Otherwise, I’m just letting ‘them’ take, with no reward. I’m usually very certain when [the reason] a man is into me because I’m a small Asian woman. It used to bother me, only because I thought it should. That’s really difficult to admit. It’s shameful, but the best way to have peace of mind is knowing that it is my choice to self-infantilize. 

If you’ve read Lolita, Lolita, in some instances, chooses to participate. There’s one incident where Lolita wants her allowance and Humbert won’t give it to her. She uses her ‘babyness’ to get her allowance. It’s that moment where she realizes she still has power over the situation. She could either be upset that he holds this power over her and not get her allowance or she can suck it up a little, partake in the fantasy and get a little something for herself. 

TNG: “I’m baby,” as a cultural phenomenon, is sort of passé in the digital space but has left an undeniable impact. Do you think anything else, past or present, comes close to that? 

CL: Incel culture. 

BS: Yes! That’s something I think about all the time. I joke about being an incel advocate but there’s truth to it. 

If you’re going to support a departure from capitalism, you need to realize that downwardly mobile white men deserve access to resources that they’ve also been denied. It’s a fallacy to try to exclude them from this vision of the future where people have access to things that make our lives much more livable and pleasurable. Mainstream media has portrayed incel culture as a symptom of incurable derangement. I don’t think that’s true. In a lot of ways, it’s a product of late-stage neoliberal capitalism. 

Just thinking about fashion, Gen Z’s influence via online fashion is massive. I’ve seen cottagecore and dark academia, which are trends that started on Tik Tok with teenagers showing up in trend reports from big trend forecasting companies. I think that the e-girl/e-boy thing really reached a level of cultural notoriety. It broke the glass ceiling. After that, we realized Gen Z was in control of fashion and culture. 

TNG: What kind of styles do you like to wear? And are there any styles you hate? 

CL: My style really makes no sense. I dress like a slutty grandma who is really into the early 2000s. Right now I’m really into pre-craftcore which is just different layers in clothing. I don’t know if I hate styles. I’m not a big fan of e-girl culture and e-boy culture, but I don’t know if I hate it. I am starting to get a little sick of sexy Willy Wonka. 

BS: Mismatching to the extreme.

CL: I think I’ve had enough of it. 

BS: I feel like it takes a lot of effort for the average consumer to understand, which is inherently pretentious. Would you say it’s avant-garde like Brandy Melville? 

CL: One could say! I actually really love Brandy Melville. I think I think they’re kind of geniuses, filling the void that American Apparel left. 

BS: I love American Apparel. Their influence on fashion and aesthetics is underrated. 

CL: They set the foundation of what Cafe Forgot tries to do. It’s using the influence of Tumblr models to promote their clothes that otherwise probably wouldn’t sell. 

BS: I don’t like boho fashion that much even though I do indulge occasionally. I think it’s bad for the culture. I like American Apparel pre-2013. I also like corsetry and I love clothes from the 1940s. I like a full 19th-century get-up. I think about how clothing has changed and how that relates to women’s role in society. There’s this great quote from Valerie Steele, the Director of the Museum at FIT. “The external corset was replaced by the internal corset; diet, exercise, and plastic surgery.” I’m obsessed with undergarments of antiquity. 

https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6870990373922049285?lang=en-US&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fstp.world%2Fblogs%2Feditorial%2Freclaiming-bimbo-with-biz-sherbert-and-carol-li

TNG: Nostalgia fuels so much of what we consume culturally, from movies to fashion to food. Do you find this to be positive or negative? 

BS: Short answer, bad. Nostalgia is the dominant influence on almost every part of our culture. It also relates to “I’m Baby” culture. You can see “I’m baby” culture in our obsession with nostalgia-based everything, from film to fashion. This feels comforting in a time where many people are expected to live much more precarious lives than their parents and grandparents. We keep this anxiety about our futures at bay by wearing and buying things that are either in your face cute, childish, or nostalgic. That has a lot to do with how we all want to be taken care of. Since that’s not our reality, we revert back to a lot of behaviors and styles and interests that we participated in childhood and adolescence. It’s really bad for any sort of innovation or creativity. Nostalgia is very profit-driven. 

CL: I definitely agree. I think about nostalgia inspired fashion. It’s usually co-opted by big corporate brands like Urban Outfitters. It’s all about marketing. They just remarket an unoriginal idea or item and produce it in mass quantities, to the point where everybody looks like they’re cosplaying an era. 

When I am looking at nostalgia-based jewelry and clothes by independent designers, I think it’s interesting because a lot of it is anti-design and anti-fashion. We’re moving away from jewelry where you need industrial machines or a “proper education” to make. Look at craftcore. This is the type of stuff that is really accessible to so many different kinds of people. The problem is just when it gets co-opted by fast fashion. 

BS: I feel like things that are deliberately made to look handmade but were actually made in a sweatshop are very morally corrupt to wear, but I don’t judge people for wearing fast fashion. It exists for a reason. 

For a lot of people that grew up without any money, once you are able to buy your own clothes, there’s an aversion to thrift shopping. You spent your childhood having to wear things from thrift stores and not being able to keep up with fashion. 

CL: I also think that trends are probably the most detrimental thing to the planet and to the psyche. You’re trying to keep up with something that will never stand still enough for you to afford to do that. They come and go so quickly that the environment can’t keep up and workers can’t keep up. Something that I always look at is Fashion Nova. I’m obsessed with them. I think we’re really always hypercritical of Fashion Nova, but Fashion Nova is just a product of its environment that probably would not exist if we weren’t buying these things left and right because we love it. We love to see it! I personally would love a Fashion Nova gift card. The demand is there. It’s one of those things where you participate or you don’t. It’ll exist either way. 

BS: The hierarchy of fast fashion is so arbitrary. The very bottom is Forever 21; the most uneducated about fashion ethics. I kind of stan Forever 21, even though they’re bad for the world. Their products slap and as long as we need to look good to go forward in society, we’re going to need cheap things that slap. 

CL: Also, the idea of sustainable fashion just isn’t real. It’s all words on paper. There’s no such thing. Just don’t make things. I don’t usually believe brands when they claim sustainability, because it trickles down so many different levels. For example, when I make jewelry, I do try my best to source my pearls as carefully as possible but there are so many levels to where I will never get down to; where they’re produced, who’s producing them, who’s getting paid for them. Gold and silver, they’re being mined by God knows who in God knows where. 

https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6833129221489970438?lang=en-US&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fstp.world%2Fblogs%2Feditorial%2Freclaiming-bimbo-with-biz-sherbert-and-carol-li

BS: That’s one of my main critiques of the multinational fashion system- it’s so contracted and subcontracted, It’s intentionally impossible for the very top of a company to have full accountability for the very bottom. It’s subcontracted to the point there’s literally no linear path. The supply chain is often incomprehensible. 

CL: A really good example of this is the fire that Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner have been under for not paying their employees. 

BS: In Bangladesh. 

CL: I highly doubt that they have control over whether or not these people are getting paid. 

BS: That’s something I haven’t thought about because it’s easy to see really rich people as villains in these stories. 

CL: It’s all Hocus Pocus when I see “sustainability.”

~ The Impossible Dream : A Manifesto On Sustainability.  

The Impossible Dream : A Manifesto On Sustainability. 

My definition of sustainability hinges on considering the impact of the primary and secondary industry sectors on the rest of the garment’s life. I assess if the negative environmental impact has been addressed and follow thoughtful procedures to counteract these effects throughout the production process.  I aim to take unprecious things and turn them into something to care about. Reimagining use for a good that has lost its initial value prevents it from being disposed of and increases its usable lifespan. By working with materials that have outlived their first lives, I source sustainable fabrics for my garments.

For this project, I heavily considered the sourcing of my fabric. Initially, I only wanted to use discarded fabric, to reassign its value. However, when I reflected on previous projects, my garments changed from ‘something I made’ to ‘something I would wear’ with my Hip Beat sweaters. I always loved designing prints and t-shirts, but I never executed the ideas before because I didn’t think it would be possible to make them in a truly sustainable way. I learned how to use punch cards, which are rectangular cards that I create my design with by punching holes into, which are then read line by line on the knitting machine. With the punch cards I had the freedom to produce environmentally responsible prints and patterns by using 100% naturally-dyed organic wool. I knew that I had to incorporate these knits into my collection to continue working with the techniques I was enthusiastic and passionate about.

Jagger Spun is a fourth-generation family-owned yarn manufacturer based in Maine, U.S.A, only two and a half hours from my university, the Rhode Island School of Design. Their Green Line is Global Organic Trade Standards (GOTS) certified 100% organic Merino wool yarn, spun at their mill, and organically dyed at their dyehouse.

Wool is one of the most recyclable and biodegradable natural fibres available, so it is greatly sustainable. Despite this, using fabric that has already been produced but is going to be discarded (like from second-hand shops or factory scrap bins) is the most environmentally responsible option because you are using fabric that was going to go to landfills or incinerators and avoiding the unnecessary production of new fabric. The reason why this option is environmentally and socially responsible, but not always sustainable, is because these fabrics can be made with chemical dyes and synthetic fibres. If it does get thrown away, it will not biodegrade, but instead toxically pollute the environment. If it gets incinerated, it will turn into an airborne carcinogen. However, if the garment is never thrown away, it would be sustainable. It would also be sustainable if the fabric was entirely naturally-dyed and organic, since if it could not longer be repaired and was no longer wearable, it could be buried in the ground and decompose after some time. The nutrients in the fabric would feed the soil, ready to contribute to the cycle of growth again.  

Many production methods have a negative effect on the planet, even the ones that claim to be sustainable. Recycled polyester, for instance, still pollutes the planet. This article is a great help in forming your own opinion about it since it lays out the pros and cons of the fibre.

To learn more about the harmful effects of plastic, a great book is No. More. Plastic.: What you can do to make a difference ​by Martin Dorey. I was surprised that plastic products can only be recycled two to three times. After that, it goes to landfills or incinerators because the polymer chains become too short and the plastic disintegrates

A rule I live by to decide what to buy when something is new (whether that be clothing, food, home supplies, or anything else) is to determine if it is sustainable or environmentally responsible. I do this by asking: Is this organic and do I know where each element of it originates from? If the answer to this is no, then I try to find a second-hand substitute. The change truly has to come from the consumer, because the fashion industry will not change without an economic incentive. 

The fashion industry is set up to be wasteful, even at the pre-consumer production level. For instance, fashion companies throw out the hundreds of yards of fabric used to test their designs. This waste is intrinsic in Fashion education too: RISD requires its students to make hundreds of fashion drawings, in order to decide which designs we like best. We must decide which colours and fibres we want to use, and then to go to fabric stores, collect swatches (organise them on a fabric list) and show our teacher so that we can discuss their eligibility. This is not sustainable, so I do not work like this, hence the note below. 

Isabelle Saxton, A note written on my phone, December 7, 2019
Isabelle Saxton, A note written on my phone, December 7, 2019

On a surface level, this seems like it would not affect the sustainability of a garment. However, when I become attached to a design that I’ve discussed with my teacher I have to find a fabric with the right colour or thickness from a sustainable source. If I can’t find it at a FabScrap, second-hand shops, recycling centres, or factory trash bins, I have to buy new fabric to satisfy my design. Unless that fabric is naturally-dyed and organic, it would be unsustainable.The alternative would be to face a grade reduction since I would have to change my design halfway through the semester in order to buy whatever fabric was available from a second-hand source. 

Therefore, I have a few game plans but most of the time I walk into these second-hand places and see what they have, then I drape what I find until a design emerges. I love working with scraps that I get from factory visits or rummaging around in the trash in the apparel department. Their shapes and size automatically control the design of the garment, which is why I call my work accidental — I can make as many fashion sketches as I want, but I have no idea what the design is going to look like until I start working with it in a tangible way.

I realise that my words are soaked in frustration. The frustration is not directed towards my teachers— I utterly adore them. It is frustration directed towards upper officials, the law makers, for not leading their decisions with moral integrity, aimed to advance society towards a harmonious relationship with Earth’s environment. Their decisions are driven by quick gains and encouraging disposable culture. It’s frustration induced by deep sorrow and grief felt when thinking of the reality of our society. Environmental and social education needs to match that of economic education. This lack is destroying the sustainability of our planet. The Impossible Dream attempts to plant a seed in your mind to become motivated to research sustainable living, so as to unmask false truths. It uses irony and satire to criticise what should be an obvious, widely known truth.

My impulse is to draw out contrast and irony, so juxtaposing pure, cutesy yarn with vulgar language and juxtaposing words of praise with words of contempt appeals to my senses. One statement on my textiles is “if you are wearing this you are a fucking legend” which is written upside down so only the wearer can read it. Is the use of “fucking” really necessary? The short answer, yes. It is used to show enthusiasm, and to fervently persuade the wearer that they are a legend for supporting environmentally responsible business. It is supposed to make them pause and think “the person who designed this believes in me.” Another self-reflective statement I use is “it’s easier if you don’t care,” because bringing a reusable cup with you to a coffee shop is not the easiest thing to do. However, knowing what I do about plastic, I have to be as close to waste-free as I can be. An educational statement written on my machine knit pieces is “80% of clothing goes to landfill or incinerators.” You can extend your garment’s life cycle by using second-hand shops, clothing swaps, and recycling centers to trade, dispose, or repurpose newly purchased items. 

My work is driven by the personal bonds I have with the community around me: my family, my friends, and strangers at bars. The bonds, happiness and effervescent energy are what keeps me motivated to work. 

 “The force of fashion is symbolic. It is social. It lies in the sphere of interpersonal relations and cultural dynamics.” I am extremely frustrated by environmental issues so I channel my frustration into art in order to attract other passionate people. I want a community to form around sustainable work, to be informed and informative; a community that can Stand Out For Sustainability while pioneering solutions.

~ Join Shay Galla on the STP Virtual Runway 

Join Shay Galla on the STP Virtual Runway

In a fashion landscape where NYC’s best-dressed and most prestigious events are scheduled to be remote and practically audienceless, we teamed up with Shay Gallagher, an apparel designer, stylist, and all around badass to create our own version of Fashion Week. “I had been wondering about fashion week ever since we went into quarantine,” said Gallagher. “It became apparent pretty quickly that a lot about fashion and the way people present their work would have to change.” 

 By the end of one conversation between Shay  and Ben Werther, contemporary artist and the Jeff Gordon of STP, the two had come up with STP Fashion Week, an open submission online fashion showcase. “It will be made up of a series of live streams held by different designers, as well as an open submission fashion showcase,” Gallagher said. Shay designed a graphic for the event while Ben facilitated the submission process. 

Original promotional graphic by Shay Gallagher
Original promotional graphic by Shay Gallagher

The goal for the submission guidelines is to accept all kinds of fashion pieces and eliminate any barrier to entry. “You don’t have to have a brand, or even identify as a fashion designer to be a part of it.” Everyone is welcome. 

STP aims to find solutions to the asocial challenges of online events by providing a digital space for artists to showcase their work, gain publicity and connect with each other. STP has hosted events through their website in the past, like the BFA Student Show last May. Burgeoning artists like Shay can utilize STP programming as a tool for their art practice.

@shay.galla on IG: Glitch Diva Doña Arca dressed in Shay Sleeves at The Shed <3 Styled by Natacha Voranger
@shay.galla on IG: Glitch Diva Doña Arca dressed in Shay Sleeves at The Shed <3 Styled by Natacha Voranger

“When I was little I used to get these destroyed Barbies from a junk store in Bushwick and I would sew them little outfits out of socks.”

Shay’s friends are now her Barbies; the inspiration and models for her designs. Her community is also where Shay sources material, and who she markets her work toward  – everything is made to order and one of a kind. As a small-scale designer, that support network is crucial for Gallagher. Community is a driving force for the process and exposure behind her art practice. The relationship between her, her stylist, and her client is crucial to creating a cohesive end-result with everyone’s creative visions in mind.

@shay.galla on IG: 3 mojitos deep w Sarah
@shay.galla on IG: 3 mojitos deep w Sarah

“I get creative by playing dress up with scrap, seeing what works, and taking some pictures, usually in the mirror, then put my little samples on friends, and take pictures of them too.”

Using scraps of tulle, deadstock fabric, and whatever stretchy materials provide a forgiving size-range, Gallagher creates designs that range from bulging to billowing and from hyper-delicate to hyper-abrasive. She loves to be over-the-top with her work, though a lot of her design elements are ultra-practical. 

@shay.galla on IG
@shay.galla on IG

“I try to make my pieces as adjustable and versatile as possible, which is why I often find myself using ties. A lot of ruffles and gathering comes from things being able to change shape, become longer or shorter.”  The adaptable nature of Shay’s garmentation is a large aspect of the ethos behind STP Fashion Week.

shot by @lisette_emma
Shot by @lisette_emma

“A virtual fashion week seemed like one of the most effective ways of allowing people to still show their work while in a pandemic,” Gallagher said. STP Fashion Week aims to connect all kinds of fashion communities, and allow for networking and community building during a time where it seems nearly impossible.

Click here to submit to STP Fashion Week!