Fashion and the blurring of the gender line

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Fashion and the blurring of the gender line

Post by marieprom » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:42 am

The New York Metropolis section of the New York State Museum is slated to host a different type of exhibit this weekend, one that adds a bit of couture to the Museum.

On Saturday, four designers will come together to present “IDENTITY,” a fashion show featuring some of their latest creations. The show is produced by Electric City Couture, an organization that’s been running some of the largest fashion shows in Upstate New York since 2010.

As its title indicates, the looks featured in the show are designed to explore the boundaries between femininity and masculinity and to push the envelope when it comes to local thoughts on style.

Corey Aldrich, the creative director and producer of ECC, came up with the idea for the show at an ECC show in 2016. An attendee asked Aldrich if one of the models on the runway was male or female.

“I found this moment prescient and wanted to explore it. To me and many others, individual expression is beautiful in its own right. The IDENTITY show will explore the regional standards of masculinity and femininity in the way we clothe ourselves. Our current fashion climate in Upstate NY is so limiting, we would like to unpack that a little and see if we can open it up to a more creative and open approach,” Aldrich said.

Designers Adam Van Buren, Meghan Kluball, Olga Papkovitch and Marjolaine Arsenault are featuring fashions that delve into the topic of identity. Each has a distinct aesthetic, which will bring an array of looks to the show.

Van Buren is an artist and native of the Capital Region. He's well-known for his elaborate headpieces and outfits, inspired by the underground club scenes of New York City, Miami, and Tokyo, among others. Van Buren’s work has been exhibited at the Fashion Institute of Technology, underground Fashion Retrospective and in a Bloomingdale's holiday window display. His pieces often deal with gender identity and many of his works often blur the line between masculinity and femininity.

Kluball is a Clifton Park resident and fashion design student whose work focuses on embodying the semiotics of fashion. She’ll be attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in the fall to further her design career.

Papkovitch does a little bit of everything. She’s a New York City-based fashion designer, artist, magazine publisher and a humanitarian. For the ECC show, she’ll be bringing her brightly colored and vibrant designs for a collection that is Channel meets Van Gogh.

Arsenault, a fiber artist from North Creek, is best known for her seamless garments. With each piece, Arsenault fuses hand-dyed silk and wool fibers to create intricate and seamless looks.

“The show escalates over time with deeper expressions of personal identity. By the end of the show, I would consider it a great success if attendees forgot to ask questions about who the models are or represent but rather, just allowed themselves to celebrate their beauty, creativity and expression,” Aldrich said.

Beyond the runway, ECC is partnering with the Upstate Alliance for a Creative Economy and Mission Accomplished Transition Services to put together a FASHION UPSTATE initiative.

Formed earlier this year, it brings together established fashion industry professionals and aspiring fashion professionals to support each other in Upstate’s fashion industry. Two graduates of Fashion Edition, a program run by Mission Accomplished, will also be interning with ECC for the show.

“Joining Electric City Couture as paid interns will give the Fashion Edition graduates the opportunity to gain real-world experience in a runway environment, will teach them more about this career path and give them access to the upstate fashion industry. It’s all about giving our young people the access, guidance and experience they need to help companies see them as a value add,” said Carmen Duncan, the CEO and founder of Mission Accomplished.

While the initiative is still in the beginning stages, Aldrich, Duncan and Maureen Sager of ACE are already looking into new projects.

“I am hoping we become a central hub for people in the fashion industry here and a resource that allows for synergistic networking and resource sharing and/or creation. We have a lot of talented people in the business here. I want to connect us all so we can work together doing what we love,” Aldrich said.

Saturday’s show will bring some of those local creatives together, including a local creative merchandising company called Mannequin Intervention. The company will be helping to create a pop-up shop of the featured designers’ work.

“The IDENTITY event is a great way to kick us off, as it will include a team of over 50 people, from planning stage to runway. This is exactly how an industry starts,” Aldrich said.Read more at: |

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