Tuesday 5 March 2019

Fast Fashun - Live Art Review

What: Fast Fashun - DIY or Die
When: 2 - 9 March 2019
Where: Testing Grounds, Arts Centre Melbourne
Created and presented by: Sebastian Berto and Tenfingerz

Tenfingerz and Sebastian Berto
Tenfingerz is the doyenne of fashion flavoured live art events in Melbourne and this year she and collaborator Sebastian Berto, in conjunction with Helping Hands, bring a fun and fabulous live art event beyond compare - with a strong social commentary as well, which is what she is all about! Head on down to Testing Grounds this Saturday for Fast Fashun and bring your imagination, best runway walk (and perhaps a travel sewing kit...) and show the world your skills in making trash treasure.

Tenfingerz has been making fashion live art events for years now. I first came across her work in the astonishing Perfect Runway Series events in 2015. The ambition of those two runway events was mind blowing. Whilst Fast Fashun appears to be smaller in scope and scale it is not. There are less lights and infrastructure, but the magnitude of the issues surrounding clothing waste is global and amongst all the fun to be had being your own fashion designer (and model if you want) sits an air of outrage over waste and societal behaviours.

Let's start with the fun because Fast Fashun is the most fun you have probably had since you stopped playing dress ups with your parent's clothes as a kid. Remember when there was always this box of adult clothes and broken jewelry in the corner and you could go over and turn yourself into a princess or a pirate? At Fast Fashun you get to relive all of that joy.

Helping Hands has provided - literally - piles of clothes which have been 'donated' but which are completely unsellable and will just end up in land fill. This means you can go crazy with ripping, stripping, clipping, and fitting and nobody will object. (Oh, and the added bonus is, if you find anything you really want to keep, you can).

Equipment has been provided to help you in creating  your new art wear in the form of blades, pins, hot glue, etc, and on the day I went there was a designer who had brought in her sewing machine for people to use and was at hand to give help and advice. If you have your own favourite scissors or sewing kit and you are serious about your wearable art I recommend you bring them in because a runway is undertaken every hour and you don't want to waste time running around trying to find something to cut with. My own creation became a safety pin pastiche because I was not smart enough to do that. It looked great (IMO), but the inevitable wardrobe malfunction did occur...

You can model your creation yourself or you can bring (or find) someone to model for you. Bringing a team along could mean you get at least one item in every runway show depending on how serious you are about fun and art.

To top the whole thing off, Tenfingerz and Berto are creating a look book of all the wearable art which sashays down the catwalk, and the book will be on sale at the Melbourne Art Book Fair so not only will your creation have a formal VAMFF Melbourne Fashion Festival runway exhibition debut - it could also live on forever in the annals of Melbourne fashion history!

On the more serious note though, there is your source material. Used clothing and accessories are literally dumped in piles around Testing Ground for this event, almost exactly the way they are dumped outside charitable institutions all across Australia. Only around 15% of what is dumped goes on to be resold and the rest goes into landfill.

As you pick through all of the dross to find your diamonds you will understand the frustration of charities as they then have to go to the expense of paying transportation and dumping fees for what people could just throw out in their own trash all paid for by council. These are not donations, they are stripping resources from those organisations trying to help people in need.

Perhaps not intentional, but another strong indictment, is the realisation that we don't have any societal mechanisms to encourage and support recycling of many elements of these clothes. So many zippers and buttons for example could be repurposed and would be if we had some sort of recycling repository for those willing to actually remove them before disposing of their clothing waste.

There is nothing to be said about the amount of plastics and nylons and the implications of that. If you go too far into that wormhole your soul just shrinks as it shrieks in despair...

Okay, so I got a bit maudlin there but trust me, Fast Fashun is an absolute blast. I went on my own and only intended to watch. After the first runway I couldn't wait to try and put something together and I ended up having a great time laughing with others and being given help to become an artiste of this genre.

My great moment of glory was my cat walk. Brave and bold I strutted down the runway like a spanish dancing horse (in my mind anyway) just like Tyra Banks taught us how. And yes, if you buy the look book you very well may discover the true potential of my skills and abilities in this arena!

There is only one more Fast Fashun session this festival (on Saturday) so don't miss out. It is a holler and a hoot and there are, amongst all the wannabes like me, a bunch of amazing creators and designers whose work you will get to see. Strut your stuff and check out everyone else. What more could you possible ask for?

5 Stars

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