Halloween inspired fashion and art at RAW:Chicago PULSE showcase

Fresh talent was the highlight of the final RAW showcase of the season. Given the time of the year, a very prominent theme has dominated the event.

RAW: natural born artists is an independent arts organization founded by Heidi Luerra in 2009. The organization provides tools and resources for emerging artists to help them further their careers. It helps artists and designers get broader exposure for their work by showcasing it at a collaborative local event.

The showcases are held on monthly basis where the attendees get to discover talented photographers, painters, jewelry designers, performers and, of course, fashion designers.

On October 27, 2011 RAW: natural born artists held its final showcase of the season called PULSE. With Halloween only few days away it was not surprising to see a lot of art inspired by the graveyard, the world beyond and surreal fantasy.

The undead coming to live in the works of Evil Toad, who works with found objects and recycled materials to create his 3D works of art of a darker nature.

Kevin McLaughlin’s illustrates small wolds with the focus on the members that inhabit them. Armed with a darker sense of humor, Kevin’s illustrations have an interesting twist.

Backstage things were taking an interesting turn as well. The makeup artist Kate Johnson had pushed her imagination to create truly interesting look for this showcase.

“My inspiration for this show was going back to my core education. I studied special effects makeup and hair for film in California and I have always loved period pieces. It’s not too often MUA/Stylist get to choose the entire look we do. I thought about how a modern Marie Antoinette would look if she was on the runway today. Simple makeup with bold lips and big big hair. I always like to push myself and see how I can do a little bit more at a shoot or show. This definitely pushed me to do this look in 4 1/2 hours with 6 models. I’m truly grateful to my amazing assistants.“

— Kate Johnson

Kelly Brinn was the featured fashion designer of the PULSE showcase. Her collection is inspired by rock and roll with a historical twist of the 1800′. Kelly incorporates eco-friendly fabrics in her designs and does not use any real animal skin.

We’ve caught up with her for an interview after the show:

How did you start designing? When did you discover your passion for fashion?

Kelly Brinn: I always loved clothes and putting them together, since childhood. I also loved art, and loved to draw. Fashion design combines all of that so I was naturally inclined to go in that direction. I loved fashion magazines, and in high school started to draw clothes and came up with some wacky ideas haha. Since then I went to school for design and have had all sorts of jobs. I worked as a stylist’s assistant, in marketing and retail, and have worked for small clothing lines in Los Angeles and Chicago. I am launching my own line in Fall 2012, which there was a sneak preview of that in the fashion show I did for Chi Town Raw. I am so excited about it and feel ready to take this step.

What inspires you to design?

Kelly: As far as what is inspiring to me, that would be many things I see. I love art, certainly a day at any museum would have me wanting to break out my sketch book. I am inspired by the way people dressed in different time periods, I like taking things from different eras and putting them together in an interesting way. Different cultures are inspiring to me. I feel like if you just focus on one thing it becomes to literal, so I like to keep it open. I am definitely inspired by music as well, rock and roll being my favorite.

Describe your collection and the style?

Kelly: My collection for Fall 2012 is inspired by America in the 1800’s, everything from what the Native American’s wore, to cowboys, military, and Victorian women. If you look you can see elements of all of that. My style is kind of rock and roll, so of course I have some interesting jackets and skinny faux leather pants. I am sensitive to animal rights issues so I never use real fur or animal skins in my garments. I think that the environment is also important, so I try to throw a sustainable or eco-friendly fabric into the mix. For this collection I am using a 70% hemp/ 30% silk charmeuse that has a great sheen to it. I like to make my collection as ethical as possible without sacrificing style.

Who would be the “woman” wearing it?

Kelly: The woman wearing it definitely likes to be noticed, the clothes are interesting and unique, but also wearable and comfortable. I would never put something in my collection that I wouldn’t want to wear myself. My clothes have a cool rock and roll vibe, but they’re not so crazy that they won’t work in your wardrobe.

Tell us about your experience at the RAW showcase.

Kelly: I had the most wonderful time participating in the Chi Town Raw Showcase. It felt really good to have a forum with which to show my work, it was awesome. It is really great what they are doing for emerging artists, who can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, or be not quite sure how to promote themselves. I really appreciate the opportunity they have given me, I feel like it was a great way to jump-start my new line.

Media crew:
Reporter – Raven Mai
Event Photography – Julian Favela

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