So I was invited to a very special friend’s 40th birthday bash recently. The theme was Monsters.
I looked around my wardrobe to see what I could wear to this auspicious occasion and it dawned on me: I had been so busy making wearable art and alternative fashion for other bright and creative people that I had forgotten to represent the wearable art ethos in my own clothing. That had to be changed. Clearly I had to make myself something to wear.
I decided on a Heaven and Hell theme. Plenty of scope for monsters there, I thought. I do like a bit of contrast in a theme , and well, you don’t get more of a contrast that that!
I had sourced a few second hand t shirts from a local charity shop that had been printed with Hindu Gods and Goddesses so I used the images from those unwanted garments as my jump off point. I had found the most amazing lime green and gold african batik print fabric at my local Brixton fabric shop that I was itching to use.
A simple pattern of shift dress and bolero top was the beginning. I cut out the beautiful fabric along with some bright pink lining ( nothing like lime green and shocking pink to make your eyes water in a wonderful way) and got to work.
I appliqued the Hindu goddess onto the front of the dress and painted a fierce Buddhist evil god that I had sourced in a book of monsters that I had at home , he would do nicely for the hell aspect of the dress. Then I appliqued flames all around the hemline of the dress. Fire burning up from hell! I decided to use my favourite monster image of Medusa ( the classic Caravaggio painting) on the front of the bolero. I painted the image then appliqued it to the front of the bolero, along with big red droplets that came from another wonderful piece of African batik to symbolise the blood spurting from Medusa’s head. ( Nice monster touch there…) Then I appliqued some horses that I had sourced from yet another African batik ( can you tell I like African fabrics?) and added white wings to magically transform them into flying Pegasus. Enough text. You want to see pictures don’t you?
The party was great ! The outfit admired by all.
The previous coat I had made for her, the Frida Kahlo themed one had been made with the same beautiful lime green and gold african batik print ( although only bits of it show through with all the decoration on it) so I thought I would try the same theme but on different fabric.
Just as well, actually as the lime green and gold fabric was so popular that they had completely sold out at the shop. ( Nasseri fabrics in Brixton) Part of the beauty of African Batik is that it is done in limited runs and is ever changing .
I found this incredible and rather psychadelic fabric in blue and shocking pink that had what appeared to be heavenly bodies interconnected in the Universe , printed on it. Well that’s what it said to me. So I thought, I’m sure I can use that.
So I set to work appliqueing and painting on a bigger and better version of my outfit. I decided that such a grand theme warranted a grand shape , so I worked with the classic Emperor kimono shape with it’s beautiful sweeping sleeves.
If you are inspired to take up the challenge of wearing your own piece of wearable art, I’m available to take orders ( there is a waiting list) . Head over to my website www.iheartcart.com to see more of what I do or email me direct on
firstname.lastname@example.org and put wearable art in the subject box.