Fashion as sculpture: Outsider Supply creates wearable art

Photo courtesy of Outsider Supply

“Very often, art is found in hidden places, hanging on the walls of museums, galleries, artists’ studios and collectors’ houses, sometimes exposed to a visitor or to a selected public where all the circumstances arise. line up for the viewer and the artwork to be there in the same place at the same time,” says McKenzie Thompson. “Sometimes art can be tucked away in the safe or live among the pages of coffee table reads , manuals, or otherwise hidden in plain sight. Either way, art isn’t always the easiest to find, especially casually. It often requires deliberate effort to seek it out.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” she says. “In fact, there are a lot of great things! All of these traditional mediums are important in understanding how art finds its place in society, how discussions arise within the apartment gallery, how expression is elicited from the artist’s mind and brought into the physical world, how we have fun at art fairs. And then the pandemic hit. “We couldn’t go to museums or parties or art fairs. We couldn’t travel like we usually do, or get together and share. However, we couldn’t bear to just check and to sit on the sidelines,” she says. “A small group of artists came together virtually to create a concept brand called Outsider Supply. Together we make art-driven clothing for your everyday life.

Photo courtesy of Outsider Supply

Thompson, an MFA graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an art history buff, knows firsthand that artists approach the world with a natural tendency to do their own thing. “It’s their brave curiosity that has contributed so much, and our goal is to help spread their ideas, while bringing our own ideas in a playful, accessible way, through art-infused clothing,” she says. Celebrating that artists have always been outsiders, straying from the established path to forge their own path, Outsider Supply clothing showcases the works and ideas of artists throughout history who have changed the world through their point of view, with how they saw the expression and the meaning through their own eyes. Simply put: “The mission statement of Outsider Supply truly reflects our motivation and philosophy, which is ‘Keep The Art Alive’!”

“Baldessaried No. I Tee” / Photo courtesy of Outsider Supply

Their first collection is a nod to movements in art history, as well as to the avant-garde and mystical Swedish artist Hilma af Klint, whose paintings have been considered among the first abstract works. of Western art history, and include “an element of spontaneous play, too, where, in our own right, we combined elements of famous works to create imaginary collaborations between Andy Warhol and John Baldessari, as well as ‘a game of exquisite corpse played with works by Donald Judd and Joan Míro,’ says Thompson. The collection features boxy Japanese-inspired tees made with carefully grown organic cotton, oversized crew necks and “sculptural dad hats – with a laid-back, savvy West Coast vibe for effortless style.” . All are made to order in the USA and have one unexpected thing in common: “The garments themselves act as a wearable art form, involving the wearer as part of the artwork in a conceptual way. . It could also be called relational aesthetics, which means that the work is complete when human beings are present, become part of the work and activate the work as they bring it to life. says Thompson.

Photo courtesy of Outsider Supply

There was never a solid boundary between fashion and art for her, but rather a gradient line. “I really got into making clothes through the fine arts. First growing up painting and taking pictures, then later going to school at the Art Institute of Chicago, becoming multidisciplinary, doing textual art, then sculptures, experiential installations, and from there the clothes felt like a natural progression, like a sculpture you could live in.”

“Tree of Knowledge Tee” / Photo courtesy of Outsider Supply

Outsider Supply is inspired by the concept of the art of living. It was created to celebrate the world’s great body of art, to have a positive and inspiring impact, to spread notable artistic ideas, and to become something that lasts much longer than us, as Thompson puts it. But that doesn’t mean you have to be an artist or even a loved one to wear and enjoy it. Thompson sees his clients as “people who appreciate the outer level of things – what something looks like or how it looks – with a thoughtful appreciation for materiality, and who also like to seek and find things that have deeper meaning. They might like Complex Mag, be culture buffs, or just people who like what they see, and when they wear our garment, they feel good.And of course, we are here for design lovers, architecture, fine arts, philosophy and people like us, that is to say real art nerds.

As for Thompson’s personal favorite? “I really enjoy the whole collection, as each piece is its own story of creative play, but I have to admit that I love wearing our ‘Keep The Art Alive New Wave Crewneck’,” she says. “Maybe it’s the guy’s angle or the exclamation mark, but every time I wear it, I feel really good!” I feel like I’m stuck with a chic banner that carries such a mood, full of enthusiasm and happiness that gives meaning! It’s like, come on everyone, it’s going to be so much fun! Let’s make art come alive! Come on, let’s do it! Plus the garment is so thick and nice and super soft on the inside, I could really live in this thing most of the time.

“Keep the Art Alive New Wave Crewneck” / Photo courtesy of Outsider Supply

When asked what’s to come, Thompson becomes giddy: “Well, I have to say I’m very excited about what we can explore and see what shape it takes. Right now we’re designing a new collection on the Bauhaus, and it’s been so inspiring. First of all, I love a good artist manifesto, and what they did was amazing, so experimental and hugely influential to the rest of modern life. We’re also going to be developing full silhouettes at the right time, and the other day I found myself drawing a really cool plaid suit and pants. I mean, wouldn’t it be fun to do the whole outfit?”

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