“Recycled Runway:” Couture and Conscience at the Kitao

runway6.JPGNemo Swift ’11 and Jiuxing Xie ’11 model their pieces: “Orbitians” Photos by Dianne Seo ’09. See more photos

“Recycled Runway” at the Kitao Gallery on Friday, March 21 gave several Swat students a chance to make use of their design skills and other people’s “trash” to create unique and delightful ensembles. The show’s creator, Eve Lampenfeld ’08, was inspired by the popular “Project Runway” television show. Lampenfeld observed that the Kitao’s “Recycled Runway” was about “Letting people think about the stuff that they throw away.”

Four teams created original designs and modeled their pieces on the Kitao Runway with themes that ranged from the edible to the political. The materials for the teams came from all over campus though fabrics were donated by the costume shop.

runway2.JPGAlex List ’09, Jon Peters ’09, and Liz Crow ’09 as “Broccoli”

For some of the Swatties, the show was a chance to unleash their inner model. Jonathan Peters ‘09, modeling the work of Alex List ’09 and Liz Crow ’09, observed, “In my other life, I’m a male model: college student by day, male model by night.” Swathed in green and sporting cardboard box bits and a Swarthmore logo, Peters, List, and Crow were attired in clothing inspired by broccoli, as served earlier in Sharples.

Nemo Swift ’11 and Jiuxing Xie ’11 collaborated on one another’s wardrobe. Xie claimed that all inspiration was drawn from “each other’s beauty,” while Swift explained that “I was part of the grab, so I defined the palette that we had to work with.” Rich complementary colors and Orbit-Gum packages combined to make the pair “Orbitians,” which Swift later described as “mystical and plutonian.”

runway5.JPGA water-inspired piece by Ayanna Johnson ’09 and Laura Rainey ’09

In keeping with the theme of recycling, Laura Rainey ’09 and Ayanna Johnson ’09 worked together to create a water-inspired dress, modeled by Johnson. “Water is one of the most renewable resources,” explained Rainey. A braided diagonal band and shimmery skirt created accents for the dress, topped by a 20’s-style hat.

Elizabeth Koerber ’08 modelled a piece by Sophie Horowitz ’08 assisted by Blaine O’Neill ’11, entitled “Disastrous America.” A spherical dress that required Koerber to literally crawl into her costume, the skirt, train, and headdress made use of newspaper, cardboard, and plastic bags, among other materials, for an impressive effect.

Surveying the work of the teams, Andrew Scott Taylor ’09 of the Kitao Board explained, “Fashion is just as much an art form as any other art that we show… Look at Chanel and Couture and tell me that’s not art.” The next event on the Kitao’s agenda is the “Sextasy” show for Sager, featuring art by Swarthmore students celebrating sexuality. The show will run from Thursday, 27 through Sunday the 30, opening from 5-7. On Saturday night during the Genderfuck party, the Kitao will also be hosting a body art event from 9-11, open to all interested students.