Visual arts

Wearable art exhibit challenges people to see fashion as art

Fashion is at the center of the new King Street Station art exhibit in downtown Seattle. “Imminent Mode” is an annual exhibition that showcases wearable art. Jordan Christianson, Anouk Rawkson and Adé A Cônnère started the project after struggling to find opportunities for themselves as artists.

Now in its sixth year, “Imminent Mode” has brought together 15 different visual artists and fashion designers to explore the idea of ​​”where we come from” in their installations. Each team had approximately 150 square feet to fill with their concepts. Christianson explained that “Imminent Mode” is an immersive experience.

“It’s this functional thing, but you don’t recognize it as art until it’s presented to you as art,” Christianson said.

With a background in clothing and costume design, Christianson has always felt frustrated with the lack of places to showcase his work as he sees it – as art.

Over 600 people turned out for the opening reception at King Street Station. For Christianson, it was a testament to the show’s mission to expose people to this different way of seeing art. And that’s what drew artists like Mary Ann Carter to the project in the first place.

“Sometimes people separate what they consider fine art or craft by medium. But I think a lot of that is also based on the fact that women and people of color and gay people are mostly the people making crafts,” Carter said.

“I think art is so much bigger than what we’ve been fed in art history books for the past two hundred years.”

Carter, the duo’s visual artist, worked with Michael Welke for the show. Their 144 square foot installation is titled “Late Bloom” and appears with pastel colors. It’s almost reminiscent of a Barbie dollhouse. Carter and Welke explained that the inspiration came from their shared experience of coming out as queer later in life.

“I think in the end, the reason it turned out so well was that we were honestly, like, we let ourselves be, like, the 13-year-old girls that we never let ourselves be …” Carter said.

Each team’s installation includes one piece of clothing and two additional pieces that were showcased in a fashion show at the opening night reception. In “Late Bloom,” Welke explained that the garment on display represents her life before she came out and her life after.

“It kind of combines the two parts of me that I never really liked expressing into one unit for a long time,” Welke said.

Other installations interpreted the theme differently. “Sui Generis” imagines another universe. It has an underwater theme with greens and coral-like shapes covering its corner of the exhibit.

Christianson worked with his co-curator Anouk Rawkson on a piece directly inspired by their own heritages. Entitled “Chiquitita de la Noche”, this golden dress mixes the Swedish and Mexican cultures of the artists.

The exhibition will be on display at King Street ARTS until early January.