States of Dress – NEW YORK

NEW YORK CITY – Garbage Bag Dress

When thinking about what to create for the New York edition of the States of Dress project, I -like countless others across the world- thought first of America’s most famous metropolis: New York City. The first time I ever visited New York as a young artist was during a massive garbage strike, and it left a lasting impression on me to see mountains of garbage piled so high on busy city sidewalks. I was raised in Chicago, where we have alleys to hide our garbage. I was surprised to discover that New York is a city without alleys, resulting in every home and business -even the fanciest restaurants- leaving their piles of trash right outside their front doors on the sidewalk. Even when there is not a garbage strike, as I found during many subsequent visits, the garbage bags regularly lining the sidewalks in New York take some getting used to. To me, the sanitation workers that mange these tiny mountains every week are the true heroes of the city.

However, by no means did I mean any disrespect or want to create something “ugly” for this metropolis of art, beauty and fashion. I therefore strived to create a “couture”, jet-black, fashionable New York dress, that just happened to be made from garbage bags. To me, this piece represents all the dramatic contrasts inherent to New York: wealth and poverty, art and homelessness – beauty and trash.

To fill the bags, I used another New York icon – crumpled-up New York Times newspapers saved for me from the daily leftovers at the Marmara Manhattan Hotel. This was a great material to work with, filling yet lightweight. As an added benefit, the dress was recyclable when finished!

Sketch for the Garbage Dress design

 

And the beginnings of the project. I worked in an art studio in Brooklyn rented from fellow artist Rob Kimmel, who was out of town for the month with his family in Morocco. Special thanks to friend Stacy Lee who visited the studio and helped me stuff bags with newspapers!

The finished dress!

 

I also made a detachable train so that I could walk in the dress, then add the train at the photo shoot.

Hair Styling by Jamie for New York Garbage Dress

I found the fabulous hairstylist Jamie at Emilia’s hair salon in Brooklyn, down the street from the art studio. She understood the project immediately, and created the perfect “trashy-elegant” hairdo for the Garbage Dress photo shoot. She even used crumpled up black garbage bags hidden inside the hair to create volume!

Here Jamie is teasing the hell out of my poor hair! This is going to take a long time to untangle!!

The finished masterpiece! Thanks Jamie!

NEW YORK – Garbage Dress Shoot #1 in Brooklyn NY

This is the first day shooting the NY Garbage Dress, in a loading dock with great graffiti near the art studio I rented in Brooklyn from fellow artist Rob Kimmel. The first challenge is getting me up onto the dock in the dress! Here I am being hoisted up with a little help from my friends, volunteers T’ai Jamal Hanna and Jay Loebscher.

I did not attach the train until we got to the shoot location to help with ease of movement.

Volunteering to shoot the NY Garbage Dress is friend and amazingly talented New York photographer Layo Mayoli

Some final loading dock shots
This pigeon behind my head hung out the whole shoot, protecting its nearby nest.
Now we are trying a seated shot, with some styling help from T’ai.
Manning the video camera on the left is volunteer Katrina Stachowski.

Some final seated shots…
…and getting back down!

T’ai making sure everything looks good for some street shots, taking advantage of the beautiful architecture of the next door building.

Layo in action!

Some final street shots.

Thanks so much to my helpers! From left to right: Katrina Stachowski, T’ai Jamal Hanna, Jay Loebscher, and photographer Layo Mayoli

NEW YORK – Garbage Dress Shoot #2 in Manhattan

This is the second day of shooting the NY Garbage Dress. We found a location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where the city keeps garbage trucks parked in a large lot and along the street. Perfect place for a guerrilla photo shoot! The city workers let us shoot for about 20 minutes before we got kicked out…

On my left is Heather Lamb, a wardrobe stylist along to assist. And on my right is Anthony Gatto, juggler and budding film maker who generously offered to film the day for my documentary “States of Dress”

Stephan Landry (right) was the photographer for the day’s shoot

Final Garbage Dress shots!