Article by Grace Duggan
With the Metropolitan Museum of Art recovering from a smash hit exhibition that showcased fashion icon Alexander McQueen’s daring, provocative couture, Brooklynites can head to the Gowanus area’s relatively new Textile Arts Center to ponder another side of the fashion world: waste.
“We go through trends on a constant basis under the impression that we need to constantly change and update our wardrobes, discarding things that are still perfectly good. On the industry side, when cutting a pattern, there is so much fabric that is left cut away and unused,” said Owyn Ruck, co-founder of the Textile Arts Center on Third Avenue and Carroll Street. It’s been estimated that 15 percent of fabric is thrown out in the making of clothing.
Visitors to Ruck’s budding fiber-centric arts organization can dive into the hip “zero-waste” fashion movement in YIELD, an exhibition opening Saturday, Sept. 10. The show features garments from 12 international designers dedicated to creating wearable art without the normally accompanying waste. Creative pattern-making, altered techniques, and a dedication to recycling fabric gives rise to stunning, socially-conscious pieces from the likes of Sam Formo, Timo Rissnen, Julian Roberts, and Yeohlee Teng.
The exhibit travels to the Gowanus area from New Zealand, where it exhibited at the Dowse Art Museum.
It’s a nice entrée to the Textile Arts Center, a labor of love for Visnja Popovic and Ruck, a native Brooklynite. The organization launched in 2009.
“[We] knew there was a resource facility missing, especially in New York City,” Ruck said.
In its 3,200-square-foot space, TAC includes two galleries, artist residencies, studio rentals, and classes for adults and kids, regardless of sewing abilities (there’s a Manhattan location in the works, too). You can sign up for courses in everything from weaving and spinning to sewing and re-upholstery, and from the looks of the site, children ages 6 and up can learn to make some pretty cool looking cloth dolls.
Novices on a tight budget can try a hand at fabric work at The Mending Circle the first Thursday of every month. A free event complete with needles, thread, and sewing machines, people can bring clothes and learn how to fix them. Activities for kids include short day camps held during school vacations, summer day camps split between TAC and P.S. 321, and after-school classes in weaving, dyeing, and sewing.
Zero Waste Fashion Design Weekend Workshop
Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan are hosting a one-of-a-kind weekend workshop. During this master-class participants will learn the techniques to design and make a zero waste garment.
September 10, 11AM – 6PM $75
November 12 + 13, 11-AM – 5PM $200
Curators Talk: Sept 12, 7PM
Textile Arts Center
505 Carroll Street
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.