Before even going to the Skrapper fashion show at The Red Bull Space on Sept. 15th, I knew the show would be anything but conventional. The invite was printed on a piece of space-dyed burlap, and said the following:
Hey everybody…Hope your (sic) doin okay.
WhatWe would like to invite you to our first ever Skrapper Fashion Show….at 8:36 or 8:37 PM or so
So M.I.S.S. Gee and I figured based on this invite that the people at Skrapper are either obsessed with those numbers, there was a symbolic reason for this start time, or, they picked those times randomly trying to be funny/nonchalant. Instead of +1, the cloth had “This is a Nice 1” scrawled on the back.
We checked in with ease, as it was their first show and they haven’t yet really had a chance to present their brand to the world formally. The new label, designed by William Quigley (artist/painter) and Katie Theofilos (designer/photographer), is mostly comprised of tees with additional hand-customized elements. Think distressed fabrics, hand-painted shirts, “safety scissor crocheting” (AKA customizing a t-shirt with scissors…I made that term up. I hope it adequately expresses my disdain for the practice).
I’ll have to admit, because of my general dislike for companies with busy patterns on t-shirts (you know who you are!), I was a bit judgmental when I watched their walk-through. Snaking through the chairs, there was a young teenage boy walking around and generally being weird to all the guests (he walked in the show later on). When I saw one of the models with the butt of his pants totally ripped out and his boxers showing, I was a little reminded of Zoolander’s Derelict line. But as people started to sit down, the show started to come together. We spotted Angela Simmons and her cousin, Jess, a few rows in front of us, and Epperson, contestant on this season’s Project Runway on Lifetime, was directly behind us. The runway was in the shape of a “v”, so the models walked down one row, up the next, and then turned around and did the “v’ backwards. They kicked the show off in an interesting way: A trumpet player came out and began a solo, and he was shortly joined by a guitarist. It was a short little number, and then the models hit the runway and the DJ took over.
Once the show was well underway, I realized the styling and choice of the models really made the show. There was definitely a Downtown New York/LES vibe (Where designer Katie is from) to the models, and lots of diversity among the “looks” of the participants. Each model walked a little differently, with a different mood. There was the punk rocker who lit up the cigarette on the runway, the hot boy with the skinny pants, the artist with the pixie haircut, etc. Although some of the female models weren’t wearing pants (!), they still carried off the Basquiat-style shirts perfectly normally, as if no pants were the way to go. At one point, the models came out wearing Everlast boxing gloves (one of their sponsors), and the tough-guy look worked seamlessly with their painted-on, bruised black-eyes, courtesy of another sponsor, MAC cosmetics. The boxer theme comes into play because William Quiqley painted a series from 1999-2009 of over 40 boxers while continuing to learn the history of the sport of boxing through each painting. The shirts featured either just a painting, a slogan, or a painting coupled with a catchphrase. Such taglines included: “Bullshit, Bullshit, name drop Bullshit” and “I Love Her. Live Your Life With Love. Do Not Worry What Others Think Or Say. Be Free Show It.” and “I Do Wish We Would Talk More. I Have A Love For Romantism. Hemingway, Picasso, Bill Evans, Red Gardland, Rembrandt, Pollack, and Dekooming. Skrapper.” Among all of the sayings, There was also a funny Benjamin Franklin tee that read “Don’t Let Money Keep You Off Madison Avenue. Skrap On.” Every design is branded with a signature mark on the back left shoulder: five trademark dots.
All in all, the show was really fun. At first I was hating, because paired with the wrong thing and on the wrong people, these shirts cloud go horribly wrong. In other words, I dread the day I see these shirts at a mall, being purchased by a soccer mom. If the brand stays exclusive, it will retain the cool vibe exuded by the runway show. The goodie bags were excellent, filled with a shirt from the line, some jewelry, a DVD by Steven Sebring called Patti Smith: Dream of Life, a Skrapper Diary called Skrapaper (get it? Scrap paper?), and some other small items. The show also featured Skrapper Cabernet Franc, which can be found at their website. The after-party was at Collective Hardware, and it had a gallery downstairs of some other interesting works by other artists. The party, filled with all the “beautiful people” of the LES, led me to ask, “where do all of these LES people hangout, and how can I be down?” Ahhh, the glamour of grit.
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