Flavia Lovatelli has been a recycle artist for as long as she can remember.
Growing up in northern Italy, she would cut the frayed collars off her father’s dress shirts and turn them into blouses for herself. If her jeans ripped, she would cut the legs open to transform them into a skirt; if a beloved piece of clothing got a hole, she’d do something “quirky” to patch it up or put holes everywhere so it looked intentional.
Now, the “trashionista” and 20 other like-minded artists will showcase three cohesive pieces of art – a painting, a sculpture and a piece of wearable art made from recycled material – in Tapp’s Arts Center’s first EcoFAB Trash Couture exhibit.
“When I put out the call, I tell (artists) it has to look influenced by each other,” she said. “Each piece has to stand on its own. If I remove it from the trifecta, it has to have value. Each piece has to have power and interest and together show influence.”
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Most “trashion shows” like the “unconventional challenge” on Lifetime’s “Project Runway” or Columbia’s Runaway Runway share the same idea – but the difference is those are competitions between fashion designers and costumers. This is an exhibit designed to push artists to create cohesive works outside their comfort zones.
“The principle is to broaden an art show and capture more interest from people who would normally not come to a gallery opening,” she said. “Designers might have an understanding of working in design with a product that doesn’t lend itself to fashion, but artists don’t have any clue of how to make a dress. For them, it’s really thinking way outside their box and using materials they’re not accustomed to and making something they’ve never done before.”
The show’s purpose is to focus on ways to reverse throw-away culture by giving new life to discarded items by turning them into art.