This fashion week as New Yorkers flocked to attend the shows in the rain and February’s bitter chill, the arrival of something far away from Chelsea Piers caught our attention. A partnership between Red Hook Labs and 1 Granary sparked the initiative called VOID in 2017, as a project aimed to support the next generation of fashion designers while exploring alternatives in the production, promotion and overall consumption of fashion today.
Hailing from London, 1 Granary’s ethos is rooted in this very mission as the global fashion and art platform began as an unofficial Central Saint Martins magazine in 2012. Founded by Olya Kuryshchuk, the platform sought to bridge the gap between fashion students and the realities they would face as designers. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Olya said that, “we realised that it’s one thing to work with designers as press — spotlighting and promoting their work — and another thing to actually help them when they are starting their brands, or trying to find jobs.”
Similar in ethos is Red Hook Labs, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Downtown LA. As a public-benefit corporation, Red Hook Labs establishes arts education in public schools and community centers. A multi-platform initiative, Labs boasts a variety of services from its studio space, its own gallery and a school, creating a full-bodied creative experience for emerging artists and young talents in its community.
Tonight, the gallery opens to host the VOID exhibition which will feature the work of 50 graduates from four prolific art schools (London’s Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, New York’s Parsons and Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts) alongside photographic stories from the industry’s hottest creative teams. In addition, there will be a series of educational talks and workshops.
Merging fashion and photography in such a refreshingly organic way, 1 Granary chats with Natalie Pfister, the managing director of Red Hook Labs, for a from the source perspective on the partnership.
1 Granary: What is the relationship between creativity and the social work you do in the community? (Why is it important to link the two?)
Natalie Pfister: We try to give teens a platform where they can learn new ways of expressing themselves and encouraging them to discover the creative industries and how they work. We are striving to make RHL a creative hub in the community where teens can express themselves. We also try to offer a network for the teens we teach, that will then in turn help them find jobs and pursue careers within the photo industry.
1 Granary: How could these ideals be applied to fashion?
Natalie Pfister: Finding mentorship and support within a network is something we’d love to offer all up and coming creatives, not just in photography. The idea to partner with the Void was to take Red Hook Lab’s passion of nurturing young photographer to the next level and include young designers as well. This gives them the chance to partner up and start create their own networks and bonds.
1 Granary: Why did you decide to work with fashion designers and the VOID project?
Natalie Pfister: We felt that the Void works perfectly in sync with the message Red Hook Labs pushes for. We try to nurture and advise young photographers and including fashion designers seemed like the next natural step. Creating a community of inspiring creatives also gives us the chance to include the communities we work with.
1 Granary: It was Red Hook Labs’ idea to add garments to the exhibition, not just images. Why was that important to you?
Natalie Pfister: We felt it’s important to get a 360 view of the project which wasn’t only fashion photography but also the craftsmanship of the clothes. The imagery is important but so is the display of the clothes themselves.