June 12, 2013

Athens Fashion Mixes Up Media

Nobody knows better how the arts collide in Athens than Community owner, clothing redesigner and cofounder of the Athens Fashion Collective Sanni Baumgaertner.


Photo Credit: Christy Bush

Last month, five of the collective's designers presented outfits inspired by the High Museum of Art's Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit as part of its closing reception. Now, with a big AFC showcase currently in the works for fall, Baumgaertner is a busy woman, but she still makes time for Community Made, her house label of T-shirts designed by Athens music mainstays.

Baumgaertner created Community Made with local writer and fashion know-all Amy Flurry to celebrate their city’s culture. “We really just love Athens,” Baumgaertner says. “We love the art scene and the music scene, and we really would like to support it in a way.”

So they turned the local music scene into a design collective. GOAT frontman Don Chambers (Baumgaertner's husband), Dream Boat's Dan Donahue and songstress Madeline Adams contributed images such as a cassette tape player and a bubble-lettered Athens logo to the project. 

“We were supposed to choose a design that represented Athens for us,” Adams says. “To me, the Flicker bar is the kind of Athens institution I think of when I think of home. So I just chose to draw the Flicker piano.”

More than musicians took part in the first edition of T-shirts, which was released this past December. Nicholas Gould, head choirboy of the Athens Cowboy Choir and video projectionist for of Montreal, created a geometric line exploration for his shirt, and chrysanthemum painter Lou Kregel took a break from floral murals to add an old-school radio wave design to hers.

“I like that really collaborative aspect of the project,” Baumgaertner says, “because I think everybody that is involved is excited about it, and at the same time also benefits from the involvement, since everybody’s getting exposure.”

Baumgaertner, a musician herself, chose to donate 10 percent of the line’s profits to Nuçi’s Space. 

“Supporting Nuçi’s Space at the same time feels really good,” she says. “They helped me out many times, and so it’s a little close to my heart to be able to give a little bit back.”

In keeping with Community’s commitment to sustainability, Baumgaertner chose organic and recycled cotton from Alternative Apparel’s “Alternative Earth” collection for the shirts, which were printed in town at Satisfactory Print Shop.

Baumgaertner says she hopes to release the next edition of shirts in August. Sam Fogarino of Interpol and other musicians will lend their talents this time around to celebrate the creative spirit of a town that will never outgrow a T-shirt.

“Athens is such a young town,” Adams says. “Technically, it’s young, but there’s also a youthful spirit, I feel like, with the whole town. Its art, music and fashion have always kind of lived side by side.”