Project Runway Episode 8: What Women Want

October 18, 2011 at 2:55 am (Project Runway) ()

The client: Artspace. The challenge (inspired by Episode 8 of Project Runway): to design a commemorative handbag that women will want.

Episode 8 of Project Runway Season 9 found the designers creating a look for a client’s wife or girlfriend. My challenge was to design an accessory, consistent with my client’s brand, that would celebrate the 25th anniversary of this visual art center that I call home.

As many of you know by now, my studio, Studio 109A, is located within Artspace in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market. I moved into Artspace in 2005 and have said time and time again that jurying into the Artspace Artist Association and moving into the building was a turning point in my career as a professional artist. For the last 25 years, Artspace has inspired creative energy by engaging the public in the process of creating art through its educational programs, community outreach, exhibitions, and open studio environment.

On November 19th, Artspace will host its Collector’s Gala and 25th Anniversary Celebration. The event features the unique opportunity for guests to dine in artists’ studios and to enjoy purchasing local artwork in both the live and silent auctions, as well as purchasing artwork displayed throughout the building. Every  year, I donate a piece of artwork for the silent auction. This year, I was asked to design a 25th Anniversary Commemorative Bag.

In some ways, I designed the bag from the inside (lining) out. The inspiration for this handbag came from a postcard Artspace designed for the Gala event. The postcard featured a background graphic that I used to design a custom printed fabric through Spoonflower. I had the fabric printed on Spoonflower’s organic, cotton sateen.

Next, it was off to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC (outside of Charlotte) to find orange fabric. Artspace’s logo is orange and white, and I wanted to stay consistent with the “brand” without designing a bag that looked like a pumpkin. As a back up, I requested orange swatches from Mood Fabrics in New York, the very fabric store featured each week on Project Runway.

While Mood sent me dupioni silk, wool, chenille, and cashmere swatches, I fell in love with Mary Jo’s ultra suede, manufactured by Toray. Ultra suede, like the organic cotton sateen lining, is animal friendly.

Fabric in hand, it was time to design the handbag, a clutch with a detatchable strap that hopefully women will want.

Artspace 25th Anniversary Commemorative Purse

Interior Flap (Custom Designed Fabric Lining)

This bag and many more fabulous pieces of art will be available to preview November 4th during the First Friday Gallery Walk at Artspace and auctioned off at the Artspace Collector’s Gala and 25th Anniversary Celebration on November 19th. Gala tickets are available for purchase online by clicking here.

So, three more challenges to go. Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway Episode 9: Image is Everything

October 6, 2011 at 3:26 am (Project Runway)

First, I would like to welcome the Stylin’ News & Observer readers to the Project Runway Studio 109A blog. I am skipping the Project Runway Episode 8: What Women Want Challenge (for now). I do have a client for the What Women Want Challenge and am in the process of working on very special design, which I will reveal in November. For now, however, it is on to the next challenge, Episode 9: Image is Everything, a.k.a. The Men’s Wear Challenge.

The Sheepdogs

Episode 9 finds the designers creating a look for an up-and-coming band, The Sheepdogs. The Sheepdogs are the first unsigned band to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

“Though the Sheepdogs’ groovy, harmonic, neo-psychedelic sound is easy-going and relaxed, the guys have struggled in their quest to break out of their native
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and into the big time,” says a Rolling Stone spokesperson.

With over 1.5 million votes cast online, the band beat out 15 other bands for Rolling Stone’s Choose the Cover Contest’s top prize, which not only included the August 18th cover, but also a contract with Atlantic Records. [For more, or to hear The Sheepdogs music, visit the Rolling Stone Choose the Cover Contest Page]

My inspiration for this piece came from a comment Sheepdog Guitar Player Leot Hanson made to the designers.

“I have been looking for like red jeans forever,” he said.

Project Runway Season 9 Designer Laura Kathleen couldn’t find red denim at Mood Fabrics in New York, so she dyed the denim she purchased red. I, however, was able to find red denim on a recent visit to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC.

Red denim in hand, I was left with the challenge of creating a men’s accessory. According to Askmen.com Contributor Maggie Kalogeropoulos, men’s bags are masculine, attractive and ideal additions to any contemporary wardrobe. She writes that there are six types of men’s bags: the briefcase, the messenger bag, the hold all, the camera bag, the tote, and the newsboy bag.

Since none of the men in my life, would be caught dead with a men’s bag, I opted for a vest, my first garment.

Since the idea of a vest made entirely of red denim seemed a little effiminate to me, I decided to use the red denim on the front of the vest and pair it with black corduroy for the back. The end result is a somewhat military inspired, lined vest, which considering it is my first garment, I am happy with.

The vest, and all of the Project Runway Studio 109A accessories, will be on display this Friday during the First Friday Gallery Walk in Studio 109A at Artspace in Downtown Raleigh’s City Market.

Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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