Both art and fashion have been ways to give our lives beauty. They have been ways we represent ourselves, and how we choose to express the world we live in and see. Both take time to conceptualize and create. Artists and designers spend hours and months taking their vision and breathing life into it. This year Denver Fashion Week wanted to bring these two not-so-different worlds together for a night. By pairing a local designer with a local artist and asking them to create a collection specifically for DFW. Both brought their unique vision and skills to the task, and all we can is they did not disappoint.
Felicia Benavidez of Vintage Frame of Mind is no stranger to DFW. Her debut to the DFW runway was the Fall ‘18 season. Benavidez brings color and modernism to her pieces, with designs that display bold prints. Thomas Evans, Detour, is an artist whose style is centered around the use of bright colors and walks the edge of gestural abstraction art. The pairing of these two is sure to bring the right blend of abstract vintage.
Denver Fashion Week: What is the concept?
Detour: I would say it’s mostly Felicia’s ideas because she is the fashion designer. I’m just providing a lot of the accents to some of the pieces. I know she wanted to do a Colorado theme, so I did some colors that represented Colorado so some of our teams, our flag and everything. Those colors were added into the fabric that we get printed at InkMonstr.
Vintage Frame of Mind: Our concept was to create a collection inspired by Colorado. The collection has Colorado’s laid back, sporty vibe, with a touch of luxury to represent how our fashion scene and overall state is on the rise.
DFW: How have you two merged both of your worlds?
VFM: We merged worlds by combining our perspectives of the Mile High City. Each design has a touch of both of our interpretations of Colorado from an art and fashion standpoint.
DFW: Are there any hidden easter eggs or themes in this line?
VFM: Thomas’s artwork is the hidden Easter eggs in the line! Most of the pieces feature a piece of his artwork, which adds a vibrant touch to the pieces.
DFW: How are you executing the creation process?
VFM: Thomas had complete control of the artwork and I had control of the designs and bringing them to life… We then had his artwork printed onto fabric using the local company called InkMonster. I began with sketches of outfits that I felt represented the essence of Colorado and of course incorporated Thomas’ exuberant artwork. After a trip to Colorado Fabrics, our very generous sponsor, the fabric was selected and the pattern making, cutting, and sewing process began!
Questions for the Designer
DFW: What was the most challenging part of creating a line inspired by someone else’s art?
Vintage Frame of Mind: The most challenging part was creating a cohesive collection that merged our different interpretations of our theme, which was Colorado. Being a Colorado native, I found inspiration in the colors and textures found in nature and landscapes, including the mountains. Meanwhile, his inspiration was very abstract and drew from Colorado’s sports teams. So I had to figure out a way to include both perspectives and create a collection that represented both of us.
DFW: How have you related past and present fashion trends?
VFM: My brand is all about incorporating past and present fashion trends! The royal opulence of ruffles from the 18th century actually influenced my designs for this collection. I used ruffles to symbolize the layers and textures of Colorado found in the plants, mountains, and trees. I added present trends by adding a sporty vibe, which included joggers, asymmetrical tops, and cropped jackets.
DFW: Is there a specific artist that inspires you?
VFM: Right now my favorite artist is Robyn Frances. She recently made a series of paintings called Faux Nudes and I was absolutely inspired! The way she celebrated the woman’s body by combining different textures and neon colors took my breath away. Her series inspired me to take more risks with my own designs and to stay true to myself.
She also reinforced the idea that there is nothing more beautiful than a woman’s body and to always make clothes that accentuate and empower the female form.
DFW: How do you look at a piece of art and translate that into a design?
VFM: I look at a piece of art and translate that into a design by allowing the colors and texture in the art to inspire the color themes and types of fabric chosen. For example, smooth and flowy texture in the art piece would possibly influence me to pick soft silk or chiffon fabric. If there are a lot of lines I may be inspired to pick a fabric that has a pattern and design a look with a silhouette that is straight opposed to a round skirt for instance.
Questions for the Artist
DFW: Was there anything that excited you about being paired up with this specific designer?
Detour: So, I looked up Felicia after you guys paired me, and she does some really great work. We actually know some of the same people which is really cool. Just to see her cut and sew everything, and to know that she isn’t a trained fashion designer that she picked it up on her own, and see her grind to where she is now is really exciting. Because I am the same way when it comes to art. So, I really appreciated that about her.
DFW: How do you as an artist use fashion as inspiration, either in your work or everyday life?
Detour: For me a lot of times it’s the colors when I see something that I like I sample it. The shapes some fabrics can hold a shape for me I really like this futuristic fashion that has been coming out. This trend uses fabric that creates shapes that give a piece volume and form. Again it’s color and shape that I get influenced by when it comes to fashion.
DFW: What is challenging about creating this type of art versus the type of art that you’re used to?
Detour: I guess as a visual artist who does works with 2D canvas, and sometimes 3D, translating my work into the fashion world it’s more about how do I make that functional, and something people would want to wear. The colors really come into play, because as a visual artist who does a lot of stuff on canvas I can play with a lot of colors, and when you are wearing something color schemes become a lot more important.
DFW: Is there a specific designer that inspires you?
Detour: Yes, there is a designer out of the U.K., Ozwald Boateng. He uses a lot of color in his work, especially with his suits. I first came across his work in 2006 or 2007 and his stuff is just really amazing, and it inspired me to start looking at clothing and fashion as a way to sample colors and color palettes.