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Run-run-Runaway 

The 23rd year of NSCAD’s Wearable Art Show will have fashion fans seeing double with the newest incarnation---Runaway.

click to enlarge Kate Rothschild’s wide-collar coat with leather accents will appear in the student show - MEGAN RUDSON
  • Kate Rothschild’s wide-collar coat with leather accents will appear in the student show
  • Megan Rudson

With over two decades under its belt, NSCAD's Wearable Art Show has established a reputation for being an exceptionally unique experience. In its 23rd year, the annual show promises to keep up its name by combining fashion and art using media-technology, music and interpretive dance. But this year there are going to be some changes, as students ready themselves for two exhibitions instead of one. For the first time in Wearable history, a senior student work showcase has been added to the roster.

Runaway will be hosted at the Spatz Theatre on April 21. Elliot Mussett, a show contributor and student organizer, says the auditorium will be equipped with a T-shaped runway for models to strut down---first in student collections then in the more eccentric wearable art. Among the usual suspects of family and friends, expect representatives from local fashion blogs and stores to help participants network. Proceeds will be divvied up between the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia and a student scholarship.

"I'm interested in the idea of seeing more value in clothing and not seeing it as so much of a disposable item," says Clara Congdon. An appreciation for the material world is in large supply at NSCAD's studio, where students show a mutual respect for the artistic process required of clothing designers. Focusing on winterwear, Congdon's collection for the student show is inspired by classic and romantic styles, reminiscent of a time when quality clothing was never undervalued. Congdon has created her three-piece collection using recycled, naturally dyed fabric.

As for Congdon's involvement in the Wearable Art Show, value goes beyond the physical collection. Since September, Congdon and fellow NSCAD senior Dylan Fisher have been working with Team Possible, an arts group for young adults with Down syndrome. The group will be using black lights and fluorescents to provide awareness for the community: "When they emerge from the dark, it's a metaphor for visibility within the community. Also, it gives them a chance to feel like a million bucks when they go down the runway."

While the student show is exclusive to advance and intermediate fashion students, the Wearable Art Show encourages participation from all creative and artistic walks of life. NSCAD also offers four scholarships to help those with original proposals fund their projects. Painting major Kassandra Simon says she was surprised to win the scholarship considering that she uses recycled materials rather than cost-heavy fabrics. "I guess they just really like your ideas so they want to promote you to make it," she says.

Using materials from nature, Simon hopes to show her Mi'kmaq heritage by designing tipi-inspired looks: "They're going to be extreme dresses---I want the model's hair to be really large, windblown into the tree."

Katrina Craig, another student organizer, considers the expanded show to be an opportunity for NSCAD students to show the community just how valuable they really are. She says, "I think the general community and industry sees us as more of a wild, crazy school but we also have the refined technical abilities." Showing a collection inspired by texture, Craig says she likes "wearable art that's kind of wearable in the real world. You can still wear them out but that aren't quite average." As with many fashion students, her creative mind can be seen through edgy fashion choices (think a black-and-white structured dress paired with opaque tights and topped with a fiery pixie cut)---something only a true NSCAD student could pull off.

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