I am back again… Today I will introduce you to the new RL work of a known SL artist and designer: Irena Morris, aka in SL as Eshi Otawara… We spoke already about Irena in one of our older posts, about her art and her inspirations… Today her inspiration has become a dress, a black dress (of course), fully handmade and made of an intriguing material…
INTERVIEW WITH IRENA MORRIS
Tell us a bit about the history of the >”garbage dress”…
Sometime at the beginning on 2012 I’ve googled art organizations in the Milwaukee area in order to find some kind of a community I could possibly take part in and I came across Milwaukee Red Line. On the front page of their website they had an open call for dress designers for a competition called Re-purposed Runway whose mission was to create celebrity icon inspired wearable items out of materials that could be recycled in unexpected ways but unfortunately end up in landfills. They required a short portfolio of previous works on actual fashion garments based on which they would select 24 to compete. I did not have anything to show as far as “real life” work except a toga style dress I’ve done in college and, of course, my Second Life dress design portfolio so I’ve submitted the application with a lengthy explanation of Second Life and I’ve asked them to consider me because I myself was beyond curious to see what I could come up with in this challenge. So, after I got a notice of being accepted into the competition I’ve procrastinated for months trying to figure out what I would create. It was quite unnerving because I have never before created anything like this – the challenge was huge for me as I am not a dress designer but more of a fashion illustrator. Finally, I’ve come up with a shirt I wanted to recycle and I decided to weave in strips of garbage bags in order to get volume and texture. Cheap materials, no sewing – perfect! I spent about 200 hours and 300 garbage bags cut into 4 x 12 inch strips and I’ve woven then into the shirt and into long torn up bed sheet pieces in order to create the skirt. The dress took shape above any expectations and I’ve topped it off by blow-torching the plastic in order to give it more volume. The entire creation process was like meditation because I had to weave in some 5000 garbage bag strips into the dress so this painstakingly repetitive action eventually turned into a form of meditation. It became so automated to weave that hours would go by without me noticing time. I like when that happens in my art process. It pulls me in and that’s when magic happens.
Eventually we had several shows at the Wisconsin State Fair to promote Red Line organization and the final competition in September. All designers came up with some pretty amazing work. It was a mixed contestant crowd, from a couple teens to several professional fashion designers. It was a great experience all together!
Why the name “garbage”?, what´s the inspiration behind?
The inspiration for my dress was Georgia O’Keeffe. She was born in Wisconsin and I’ve wanted to honor someone from this state that has been my home for the past 4 years. O’Keeffe very often appears in photographs wearing black or dark clothing, she painted high contrasts and she painted wonderful architectural pieces as well as flowers. The name of my piece is not really “garbage bag dress” it is Black Dahlia. Funny as it is, I did not think of the notorious murder at the time of giving this piece the name – so in choosing the name Black Dahlia my aim was to honor O’Keeffe paintings.
Why “black” *smiles*?
Black is powerful, grounding…you cannot be indifferent to it. It pulls you in.
How is the garbage dress done? what kind of fabric did you use? How long did it take to conceive and create it?
I used one old perforated shirt, few strips of torn up bed sheet, approximately 300 garbage bags and a blow torch. I’ve worked on the piece over the time period of two months and approximate 200 hours.
How would you define your real life fashion comparing to your SL art? what´s similar, what´s different?
In RL, you have to take many things into account that in SL you do not have to worry about. Mainly the weight of the materials and how they behave. Second Life has the option to manipulate the physics and gravity and in RL you have to take the existing physics and gravity into account. You also have to manage things such as transporting the piece and making sure to do so with minimal damage to it which was quite a challenge for me because the dress I’ve created is really voluminous.
A new Irena Morris real life fashion label coming soon?
I don’t think I’ll declare a fashion brand on one dress made of garbage bags. There is still lots more to learn. Meanwhile, there is a brand of paintings people are encouraged to treat themselves with – it is all conducive to my overall capability to produce more.
If we want to buy it?
I am absolutely willing to sell the Black Dahlia dress. It’s stretchy so it can fit anyone from size 4 – 20. That’s another magical thing about it! If anyone is interested in buying it, you are welcome to make me an offer via e-mail eshi.otawara(at)gmail.com
How I was almost one year ago… Don’t see much difference from today, the usual subtle sadness and melancholy into my eyes and the desire sometimes to let myself fly away. Yet at that time my inner rage was forceful and eruptive, stronger than desperation. I was still believing in something. What about now? Do I still believe or am I lost in the dark? Maybe is just a mood of the moment, maybe a baudelarian “Spleen“. Why still I feel this strong connection between rage and black?
When I think about rage I would see it matching more with a blood red color. Yet, rage for me is strongly connected to the need of “doing a action”, that perfect action, the one which makes you feel the blood running trough your veins, the one which make you think, for just a second that you are immortal and capable of the biggest things… a feeling that makes you dominate the situation and bend your destiny by your will. Experience the sorrow and the final excitement, and then a timeless peace. The final creative act. That’s what I call perfection.
Yet I connect all this feelings and desires to black. All interesting questions…
I don’t remember what I was wearing that day, a part from my favourite high knee leather boots and my leash necklace and black parisienne stockings from calzedonia. The black dress was borrowed from a good friend, no clue about the name, this round.
Yes I know…I am going intellectual today… well ….I am not in my best moods…. Besides not being a usual fashion blogger I think I can afford the risk of just being myself, pick up just what I like and be definitive.
Take it as it is for today…tomorrow probably I will be back in a very better mood….