What makes fashion art? It’s a difficult question to answer, but luckily for us, a chance conversation on the topic between abstract painter Heather Day and founder of BONMOT, Rebecca Routh, resulted in a collaboration that is very clearly both fashion and art.
Nature is featured prominently in Heather’s work, and the five-piece collection was inspired by Heather’s travels around the western United States. In order to turn a painting into a drawing, the duo worked together collaboratively. After the pair finalized the designs, the 100% silk garments were all created in BONMOT’s San Francisco factory. While the process was more time consuming, for Heather and BONMOT it is well worth the time. Rebecca says, “in this era of fast fashion, it’s easy to thoughtlessly consume without thinking about all that goes into a garment. With this collaboration we embrace the process of creation and celebrate the story – the artist – behind the garments; the consumer not only gets a limited edition silk dress or blouse, but a window into the creative process and the artist’s perspective.” Here’s more from Heather on the creation of the line.
How did this collaboration come about?
I met Becky from Bonmot Clothing on Instagram. I enjoy following designers who make products in the US and I was drawn in by one of her prints. The clothing company also stood out to me because it’s made here in San Francisco. Becky reached out and suggested we collaborate. After grabbing a coffee, I was sold. Her genuine personality and appreciation for art was refreshing. I had a good feeling about this meeting and decided to run with it. I’m really glad I did.
What was most surprising about creating artwork that was going to be used as a print?
Translating a painting into a garment challenged me to think differently. With this collaboration, it was important to both of us that the prints and final garments reflected my artwork and style, but abstract paintings don’t necessarily translate into wearable prints. I hate to admit this, but initially I thought I would just hand over images of my paintings and we would have a dress. Needless to say it doesn’t work that way. There are different filters and aesthetics to consider for a garment, and more technical things like placement and repetition. Our process was iterative and we went back and forth about several paintings. We pulled details from sketches and played with them digitally to create several prints, ultimately narrowing it down to five patterns.
How, if at all, has this experience affected your approach to painting?
I’ve learned that every project I take on is an experiment to prepare me for the next painting. Things like movement, texture, placement, repetition are all essential to creating a successful garment. This collaboration has forced me to think about my art through a different lens. Working with print on fabric has encouraged me to think more about movement. This month, I’ve experimented more with repetition and placement and I’m collaging paper on paintings similar to the way we dissected textures for the clothing line.