No one quite knows what the formula is to creating the next big look. But everyone knows that the fashion industry has a huge hand in the development of societal trends. It was Coco Chanel who made having a tan a desirable feature in the 1920s. One person is responsible for changing the average person’s perception of beauty and appearance. Red carpet actors and actresses boast the newest fashion trends with avant garde outfits that are often considered ridiculous to the laymen and yet we would be lying to ourselves if we said we weren’t a bit jealous. Everyone remembers Lady Gaga’s meat dress. But the newest fashion line is Gagawaka. Couture outfits tailor made of the most unique materials: trash.
Gagawaka, one part of the art exhibit Making Strange, is meant to draw attention to the attention given to fashion. Vivan Sundaram, its creator, found articles of trash and used those to create trendy and couture looking outfits. He believed that the source of his creations, the trash, created an anti-aesthetic. That something that looked so desirable could be the products of something that is so unattractive. His artwork was about giving these discarded a sense of beauty. But his work was also focused on the superficial nature of fashion. Clothing is about what is on the surface rather than what is underneath. It is shallow in essence and is all about what is pleasing to the eye.
The second half of the exhibit, Post Mortem, was designed to play off of Gagawaka and further emphasize the difference in attention given to the surface rather than the inside. Sundaram refers to it as the “relationship of inside outside and breakdown and exposure.” His combination of the mannequins the medical replicas shows that there is something inside the body. The use of the mannequins for that effect is potent because they are actually hollow on the inside and seem paradoxical to the message that the inside is also there.