Fashion show puts wearable art on display for First Friday

Fashion and art have a lot in common.

To Jennifer Johnson, they’re one and the same.

Johnson will be hosting a Wearable Art Fashion Show at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Imbibe, 321 Pine St., for First Friday. Artists featured in the show will be displaying and selling their creations at tables from 5 to 9 p.m.

Johnson defines wearable art as “individually designed pieces of (usually) handmade clothing or jewelry created as fine or expressive art – not mass-produced ‘fashion,’ which is commerce, but the art of adorning the body with anything a person can attach to their body.”

So what pieces count as wearable art? According to Johnson, anything and everything. “Everything from an EL-wire suit with a pot holder worn as a hat, to the French haute couture [is wearable art],” she said. [It’s] pieces that tell a story or have something to declare, that make a statement and bring dreams and fantasies to life with fabric, beads, and any other medium required to achieve it.”

For Johnson, the interest in this art form began at an early age.

“My whole life I’ve been interested in fashion, clothes, costumes, shoes, jewelry, bags, a.k.a. wearable art,” she said. “I started making jewelry as a teenager, and I never make the same thing twice because I make jewelry from one of a kind found objects, ‘artifacts’ from the contemporary streets.

“I am drawn to using electronic components and rusty metals and contrasting them with glamorous beads and glitter. One of my favorite things to do is to create costumes and accessories for particular events.”

The First Friday show will feature several different pieces including jewelry, edgy T-shirts and other custom designed clothing and accessories.

Johnson made the decision to host the show after she and First Friday committee member Judy Olinsky had a conversation about the abundance of artists in Williamsport who design art to be worn.

“We wanted to bring more fashion to the art of First Fridays, to keep the event fresh and exciting, and give artists an opportunity to produce something out-of the ordinary that can only be properly showcased in a fashion show format,” Johnson said.

In addition to wearable art, Johnson dabbles in almost every other art form. She enjoys painting, drawing, collage and assemblage and doing digital manipulation, but her artistic side always comes out in her clothing choice.

“Every outfit I wear is carefully composed for the ‘performance’ of wearing it in public – the color of my glass must coordinate with my shoes. I celebrate beauty and good design, no matter its medium,” she said.

“I like wearable art because more people see your creations than an art piece that hangs on your walls or sits on a shelf; you can reach a wider audience and touch more lives with the power of art. I like using ingenuity to re-envision objects and bring characters to life.”