Jennifer Wen Ma’s beautifully dappled charcoal prints at Ekovaruhuset’s New York Fashion Week show so mesmerized us that we simply had to find out more about the Emmy Award-winning artist and her work. Ma collaborated with Melissa Kirgan and Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard of Eko-Lab to create the smoke-hued pieces, which were painted freehand using water-based, low-impact inks. The result? A misty, atmospheric effect reminiscent of Chinese landscape paintings and Zen calligraphy.
Although the looks were a departure for both Ma, who plies her trade in public installations, as well as Eko-Lab, which is better-known for its intricate crochet work, the new dynamic is nothing short of spectacular.
Ma’s sartorial turn may not be so much of a leap, however, considering that the fashion runway is a performance-based experience. Ma was the chief designer for visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and her other projects include a video installation for the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, public artworks in Beijing, and a “video and audio trilogy” for the 2006 Singapore Biennale.
Collaborative partnerships like Eko-Lab and Ma’s may hold the key to the future of eco-fashion.
Collaborative partnerships like Eko-Lab and Ma’s may hold the key to the future of eco-fashion, or even fashion itself. Granted, there is nothing novel really about artists, designers, and stylists pooling their talents, but we’re sold on the idea of underscoring sustainability with a bit of couture theatrics.
Who knows, the concept of crossovers in the fields of design, performance, and fine art might catch on, soaking into our cultural consciousness like ink on fabric.