Tags archives: Art For Progress

  • Many of us get dressed and undressed everyday without much thought. But for some people, changing in and out of clothing, or dealing with buckles, zippers and laces can be a frustrating task.According to Fashionista.com, in the U.S. alone, there are 59 million people living with disabilities, and 'their clothing options are greatly limited.'Thankfully, 'adaptive wear' has emerged as type of clothing made for people of all abilities that adheres to various function and style needs. Photo Credit: Lucy Jones Design And thanks to programs like Runway of Dreams Foundation and Parsons' Open Style Lab (OSL), there has been an increase in the availability of clothing geared for children and adults of all abilities. In addition, Target has rolled out a 'collection of sensory-friendly apparel for children,' including items with zip-off sleeves, side openings, or openings in the back for those who are sitting or lying down. At Parsons' Open Style Lab (OSL), designers, engineers, and occupational therapists work in unison to create accessible wearables. OSL was initiated at MIT in 2014, the program aims to challenge the fashion industry to consider the variety and uniqueness of all bodies, ages and abilities in the world. And designing for the underserved leads to better products for everyone —a core tenet of Open Style lab’s curriculum Watch video below to learn more about Runway of Dreams and adaptive wear https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=hEdCmCSPmJY [...]
  • The subject of Lana Wilson’s documentary The Departure, Ittetsu Nemoto is a fascinating individual. The former rebel-turned-Buddhist priest has made it his life’s work to personally help people who want to kill themselves. Because he cannot turn anyone down when they call or text him—and because suicide is rampant in Japan—the 44-year old’s own health has been terribly compromised. This impressionistic portrait of a heroic yet flawed character is meditative and often quite beautiful, as befitting its extraordinary subject and his environment.At the monastery where he lives with his wife and young children, we see Nemoto welcome visitors to the Departure, a retreat specifically geared to help people who are contemplating suicide. He does this by having them “experience” death; we see a small part of the process, which involves writing down things they’re leaving behind and crumpling up these pieces of paper one by one until nothing is left. The idea is to find something worth living for. Later in group discussions, the participants discuss their feelings. It's interesting that so many utterly despondent people have allowed themselves to be filmed. On the other hand, suicide has a long tradition of honor (kamikaze pilots, the ritual of seppuku) in Japan, so there’s probably less shame attached to it.  This may make people more open about their feelings, but also guarantees that Nemoto is seriously overworked.The film shows him riding his motorcycle to meet with [...]
  • For those of you who might not recognize the fashion label Barragán, you are now in for an unexpected treat!Led by Victor Barragán, the edgy label has now attracted almost 45,000 Instagram followers. Not a bad feat for a brand new, small label.https://www.instagram.com/p/BSEWsB3hNhK/?taken-by=barragannnnIn seasons past, Barragán issued looks that included 'jewelry fashioned out of sex toys or raw fruit, and bags fabricated to look like rocks.'Victor Barragán tells Fashionista that the label began when he started making DIY, tongue-in-cheek shirts. The label quickly expanded to a full line. "For me, fashion is more than just about selling clothing for wholesale — it's about telling a story," he says.https://www.instagram.com/p/BXVd-n6Bmc0/?taken-by=barragannnnThe label's daring looks have led the design team to gain a selling slot at Opening Ceremony, as well as collaboration opportunity with the likes of Maryam Nassir Zadeh.In addition, Barragán says that his hometown of Mexico City, and his adopted city, New York, have greatly informed his work. All of his sourced fabrics are sourced locally in NYC, while garments themselves are produced in Mexico City.https://www.instagram.com/p/BYE8GoIBf5b/?taken-by=barragannnnAnd what's also inspiring about this new label is that it appears to be gender fluid. 'When we're designing, we're never really thinking about gender,' he says, adding, 'I think if people are gonna wear the clothes, they'll wear th[...]
  • We recently caught up with the guys from the band Big Sweater to discuss their music, inspiration and their exciting new album they're currently recording.In one way or another, members of the band have all been part of AFP's music education programs over the years. So, we're very proud and excited to see how they've progressed and evolved as artists.  Check out "Platform Stare," a single from the new album.Platform Stare by Big Sweater1) What inspired you guys to become musicians, writers?Collectively what inspired us to be musicians is that of which was instilled in us by our parents and their taste for the most part. Being shown things that would be considered "old school". Those things later becoming memories and what is now sense of nostalgia of car rides and long trips throughout the years subconsciously planting a seedling in a driving force that is creating sound as well as putting words together that sum up how we feel.2) How would you describe your sound?Our sound is derivative of multiple things that boil down for the most part to blues. Our upcoming album has a combination of really somber and light tunes and also some really upbeat ones but overall our sound is very mellow.3) Have you been playing the songs off the new album live, and if so how has the crowd responded to the new songs?We've played most of the upcoming album in a rotation for about a year now, the crowd now sings along and its one of the most gratifying feelings[...]
  • The 66th annual London Fashion Week kicks off on September 21, and the star to watch at the fashion event of the season is Matty Bovan — fearless designer known for creating 'clashes of textures' that are often spray painted, knitted, and or crocheted.https://www.instagram.com/p/BYipeGXnVVg/?hl=en&taken-by=babbymThe York, England based upstart has worked with Marc Jacobs, and Miu Miu. Bovan is also a former junior designer at Louis Vuitton who won the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award and the LVMH Graduate Prize after graduating Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 2015.Image Credit: The Guardian And it's at Central Saint Martins where Bovan delved into the world of Knitwear: “Being able to create your own fabrics gives you more scope, he tells Artefact about his attraction to knitwear.He adds, "[knitwear] is the foundation of a lot of textiles, "[it] also gives more creative room to the design process.”Image Credit: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Since CSM, the designer has ignited the fashion world with vibrant, color- and-texture-rich looks. The Guardian aptly connects Bovan's aesthetic with 'great tradition of wonderfully original English eccentrics that includes Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood and Bodymap.'Image Credit: The Guardian We can't wait to see what you have in store next week, Matty! 
  • The first Dominican film to screen at Sundance (and recently announced as the Dominican Republic’s Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film), Woodpeckers (Carpinteros) is not your typical prison drama. Sure, writer/director José Maria Cabral includes some familiar elements: the new guy initiated into the brutal, dehumanizing ways of the institution; an uneasy alliance formed with the cell block’s bully/fixer. But Woodpeckers, which was filmed on location in the notorious Najayo prison outside of Santo Domingo, is also a love story with a spectacular ending that is Shakespearean in its resolution. With its raw, authentic setting, which includes throngs of actual Najayo inmates, the film has a gritty, documentary feel that really gets under the skin. It’s easy to get caught up in its slowly intensifying narrative.When petty thief Julián (Haitian actor/director Jean Jean, quietly riveting) is incarcerated, he notices his fellow inmates crowded around the prison windows, executing elaborate hand signals. Turns out they’re communicating with inhabitants of the neighboring women’s penitentiary, who signal back from their yard. Through this detailed language, known as “woodpecking,” romantic relationships are formed, as are jealousies and resentments as rivals fight over love interests. (The practice is completely true to life; Cabral spent ninth months visiting Najayo and other prisons, where he got to know the inmates.)When the volatile Manaury (Ramó[...]
  • The future is certainly terrifying. From climate change to our political climate, there is a lot of uncertainty. But one thing is for certain —  robots will take over the world's workforce —  especially in the world of footwear. Talk about a walk-up call! And possibly leading the robotic revolution is the company Grabit, Inc., a materials handling solutions company.The California-based (Nike-backed) robotics startup employs 'electroadhesion' in order to automate the handling of any material. To be exact, the company, applies  'electroadhesion' via 'flat pads of electrodes that, when charged correctly, create an electric field that adheres to nearly any surface,' Bloomberg reports. Grabit’s shoemaking robot at the company’s headquarters in SunnyvalePhoto Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg Unlike using human hands or pliable materials, electroadhesion can offer manufacturers the ability to work around such pesky issues like gripping materials by channeling the same sort of static cling that also makes a balloon stick to your head.Sounds simply genius? That's because it is! 'Electroadhesion has the finesse to handle something as fragile as an egg, as flimsy as soft fabric and as unwieldy as a 50-lb box,' the company says on their website. They also assert that their line of equipment provides a cheaper, faster solutions that uses less power.  And the static electricity that Grabit can yield has the ability to 'make machines work at[...]
  • Co-directed by Valérie Müller and renowned dancer/choreographer Angelin Preljocaj (who are married), Polina is the story of a budding Russian ballerina who forsakes a coveted job with the Bolshoi Ballet to pursue the freedom of contemporary dance. Based on the graphic novel by Bastien Vivès, Polina stars soulful young Russian dancer and first-time actress Anastasia Shevtsova as a girl from a humble background who is chosen to train for a career in ballet. Inspired by contemporary dance, she moves first to France, then Belgium—enduring a series of physical, artistic and romantic setbacks, before finding her true passion in creating her own dances. We can almost feel her physical and psychological release when she finally experiences that fulfillment.Early in the film we see a serious, young Polina (Veronika Zhovnytska) struggling in ballet class under the glowering eye of the demanding Bojinski (Aleksey Guskov), a classic cinematic ballet master. The stifling mood of these vignettes are juxtaposed with scenes of the girl joyfully losing herself in wild improvised dance while walking home from the academy. Later the teenage Polina endures grueling rehearsals under Bojinsky, who harangues her for her inability to express feeling behind the movement, a theme that runs throughout the film. Somehow, though, she perseveres and manages to ace an audition for the Bolshoi in a terrific scene that's shot from overhead. (Another enthralling scene follows Polina’s expressive feet [...]
  • The feature film debut by director William Oldroyd (with a screenplay by Alice Birch), Lady Macbeth is a stark, violent drama that takes place in a classically sedate setting: rural, 19th-century England. Based on the 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District, by Nikolai Leskov, Oldroyd’s film stars Florence Pugh as Katherine, a young bride who claws her way out of a stifling marriage with a cold, much older husband. The young actress (19 at the time this was filmed) is riveting in a role that demands tremendous effort, physically and emotionally.We first see Katherine at her wedding, wet-eyed and frightened under her veil; that night her glowering husband Alexander (Paul Hilton, darkly Dickensian) orders her to take off her nightgown, then doesn’t touch her. It’s clear this is a loveless, almost perverse match. Expected to stay indoors and play dutiful wife and daughter-in-law, respectively, to Alexander and his even chillier father Boris (Christopher Fairbank), the teen is clearly bored out of her mind, nodding off at dinner and napping constantly. Whatever hopes she may have had for this marriage, they sure aren’t being fulfilled. A resentful maid, Anna (Naomi Ackie), seemingly in thrall to “the master,” roughly brushes Katherine’s hair and yanks tight her corset, adding to the latter's general discomfort.When Alexander and Boris have to leave town, Katherine escapes the dull house to walk out on the moors and the film’s mood changes drastically, bec[...]
  • For over ten years, Art for Progress (AFP) has been providing vital, exciting music & art programs for students in New York City public schools.Why we need your help:* Public arts funding in the U.S. is suffering more than ever in the current political climate.* Many public schools in NYC do not have the funds to hire full time art teachers. AFP provides financial support to schools with budget shortfalls.* AFP teaching artists provide a safe place within the school environment for kids to learn who they want to be, and the results are astonishing!* AFP's programs are customized to achieve the goals of of each partner school, while focusing on the lives and interests of the students .* Students need to explore their creativity.Art for Progress is able to provide these programs through private grants; but a grant that has been sustaining AFP's programs was cut in half this year, and we're asking for your help to make up the difference.AFP currently works with seven schools across the city with plans to expand into new schools next semester, but without your help we may not have the funding to accommodate these programs.Please help us today with a donation and help keep the arts in New York City’s public schools.
  • What better way to push your latest collection than by casually featuring it throughout an entire music video.Photo: Urban Daddy That's just what Raf Simons- helmed Calvin Klein did in a collaboration with Brit indie band The XX, featuring A-list teen stars Paris Jackson, Millie Bobby Brown, Ashton Sanders ('Moonlight'), and designer Raf Simons' go-to muse Lulu. Talk about an ideal off-runway opportunity that perfectly provides an outsider's edge to the iconic mass All-American label!The mini-film within a traditional music video, set in Los Angeles, plays out like a sendup to mad-cap teen movies of the past like 'American Graffiti' or 'Dazed and Confused' — a day in the life of teens, beautiful and bored, looking for love and adventure. However in this instance, the kids are playing hooky from school, and the kids wind up in two architectural treasures — Lloyd Wright’s Sowden house and John Lautner’s Rainbow House. (Check out the video at the bottom of this post)But the triumph in this video is the fact that mostly every stitch of clothing in the mini-movie is from yet-to-be-released Fall 2017 collection from Calvin Klein. Simons, recent CFDA award winner for both best Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year, served as artistic director for the video -- directed by Alasdair McLellan.According to The XX, this is the third video that McLellan shot for the band, and Simons provided the creative concept. It's also a 'love letter to Los Angeles, a city clo[...]
  • The 28th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival takes place this year from Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 18. With 21 feature documentaries and panel discussions that showcase the courage and resilience of activism in these challenging times, the event seems more relevant than ever. The festival is co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center, and all screenings are followed by discussions with filmmakers, their subjects, Human Rights Watch researchers and special guests.Several films address the worsening refugee crisis and migration, including opening night presentation Nowhere to Hide, directed by Zaradasht Ahmed. Using a camera given to him by the filmmaker, Iraqi nurse Nori Sharif documents the catastrophic events surrounding his family as war and ISIS devastate their region.The need for change in U.S. law enforcement and the justice system is another festival theme, represented by films including Erik Ljung’s The Blood Is at the Doorstep, about a fatal shooting by Milwaukee police, and Peter Nicks’s The Force, about the long troubled Oakland Police Department. One of the films addressing the changing face of journalism and how we get our information, closing night’s Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, directed by Brian Knappenberger, explores the recent Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker case and others.The Resistance Saga, a daylong special event, includes a trilogy of films by Pamela Yates on the plight of the Mayan people of[...]