Arts & Culture » Culture

Artistic currency

comment

Cat Chow may not be a ruff buff, but this Chicago talent is leading the pack of fashion designers fitting in the fine art world. Her pieces are scrupulously constructed from everyday items like zippers, dollar bills, bobbins, measuring tapes and baby bottle nipples. It’s wearable art that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary in the tradition of exquisite hand-craftsmanship. Her “Zipper Dress” (1999), made from a single length of zipper, was selected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its permanent collection.

For Chow, art is literally a commodity, and her medium is the message. “Not for Sale” (2002), one of her most stunning pieces, is an impeccably tailored evening dress, constructed, chain-mail-style, from 1,000 shredded $1 bills (each of which was donated). She’s working on her second gown of the series — this time, using $2 bills.

“With my work, I could make it a more mass-produced commodity in the fashion world, but I’m not interested in that.” A teacher in the fashion design department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chow is perpetually working on new projects. “I try to find ways of maintaining my integrity as an artist.” Translation: She’s not for sale either.

 

Spend Saturday morning with Cat Chow for a lesson in creating your own unconventional clothing. “Art to Wear,” 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 23; $36 for DIA non-members; $30 for members.

Meghan McEwen writes about fashion for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.