Art NotesArts & Culture

Athens Fashion Collective’s Spring Showcase

Natural Beauty: As part of the Georgia Museum of Art‘s thrice-yearly late-night art party Museum Mix—set for 8:45 p.m.–12:30 a.m. on Thursday, Apr. 3—the Athens Fashion Collective will unveil new spring collections from six regional designers: Sanni Baumgaertner, Shawna Lea Maranville, Amy Flurry and Nikki Nye, Rebecca Wood and Megan Huntz.

In conjunction with the fashion show, the museum will present a free lecture with Spoonflower cofounder Stephen Fraser at 11 a.m. that same Thursday morning in the auditorium. Spoonflower, a web-based digital printing company that offers an online marketplace with the largest collection of independent fabric designers in the world, allows users to design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper, decals and gift wrap. Impressed by Spoonflower’s unprecedented ability to enable emerging designers to order in small quantities and keep production costs low, the Athens Fashion Collective approached the company about a speaker for their event. Spoonflower agreed and also offered to sponsor Baumgaertner’s Community Service collection through a special designer sponsorship.

The sponsorship allowed Baumgaertner to center her whole collection around a custom photo print inspired by nature and make several pieces entirely from scratch, bringing her a step closer to one day manufacturing a clothing line in Athens. 

“When I was hiking in the mountains last summer,” Community boutique owner Baumgaertner says, “I saw all the beautiful lichen on the trees and could immediately imagine it looking amazing on clothing. It really ties together my love for this area, for the beauty of nature and for sustainable fashion. It’s like wearing nature, but modern and high tech at the same time. So this past winter, I approached photographer Ian McFarlane [to see] if he was interested in collaborating on this project. We drove up to the North Georgia mountains one day, and he took the pictures of moss, tree bark and lichen, which were then printed on the fabric.” 

Flurry and Nye’s Paper-Cut-Project, incredible paper sculptures that have been commissioned for top fashion houses such as Hermès, Kate Spade and Valentino, will provide unique accessories to accompany the designs of Atlanta-based designer Megan Huntz. Huntz, who studied industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and holds a graduate degree from fashion and design school Domus Academy in Milan, has a non-traditional approach that blurs art, fashion and design. Local ceramist Rebecca Wood of R. Wood Studio will switch media to present a line of playful clothes.

The collection by Maranville, who is responsible for transforming many of the revamped vintage clothing items found at Community, was supported through the boutique’s Local Designer Fund. A percentage of sales from clothing donations redesigned and sold at the boutique is allocated towards a fund for providing supplies, equipment and support to local designers. “It is pretty informal right now, since we are not talking about large amounts of money, but down the road I hope we will be able to provide Athens’ designers access to what they need to launch their own line: a space with machines, the knowledge of how to use them, fabric, supplies, etc. You know, a little sewing factory right here in town,” says Baumgaertner.

Museum Mix will include music spun by DJ Winston Parker, complimentary refreshments by Earth Fare and open access to all of the museum’s galleries, including the current temporary exhibitions “Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy,” “Rugs of the Caucasus,” “Quayola: Strata #4,” “Selections in the Decorative Arts” and “Tristan Perich: Machine Drawing.” Admission to Museum Mix is free.

Get Your Wallet Out: Art Rocks Athens, the nonprofit foundation dedicated to the preservation of art created in Athens between 1975 and 1985, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a handful of ambitious retrospective exhibitions exploring the visual and performing arts that gave rise to the early local music scene. Scheduled exhibitions, which will kick off in May, include “Between Rock and an Art Place” at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, “ARTifacts Rock Athens: Relics from the Athens Music Scene, 1975–1985” at the UGA Special Collection Libraries, “Paper Covers Rock: Graphic Arts and the Athens Music Scene, 1975–1985” at the Lyndon House Arts Center, “Nightclubbing Videos” with Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong, and “Clear the Floor: A Retrospective Dance Concert Featuring Original Choreography Created in Athens, Georgia, 1975–1985” at the UGA Dance Department New Dance Theater. Gifts to top pledgers include original watercolors by figurative expressionist painter James Herbert, a fancy vegetarian dinner for six at the Orange Twin Conservation Community, a personal voicemail by Fred Schneider of the B-52’s and more. The campaign has a $31,500 goal, and the deadline to donate is Saturday, Apr. 19.