25 Jan 2013
I have mentioned before that I love living in Science Town, but last night the feeling reached new heights. Imagine this impossibly cool scenario: Alicia Hardesty, a Project Runway designer and all-around awesome person, is collaborating with a Caltech physicist on a science-inspired line of clothing. And you got to see it all firsthand. Alicia’s line of clothing is called Original Tomboy, and that little X you see in Northern Kentucky serves as the base for X², the science line.
After she told us a bit about the new line, she brought up a few volunteers to demonstrate the dye technique she uses to create the look of constellations on fabric. I love that a) everyone was wearing lab coats and b) this was all taking place beside a giant picture of Palomar. Redeeming the lab coat is mission number one of X²: they are going to make them into evening wear, with the periodic table as a lining!(!!!) The color of the lab coat will be directly related to the elements highlighted in the lining (ie, the metals will have some metallic colored features). At this point, my head almost exploded from the overload of awesome. Lab coats have always been a part of my life; I used to borrow them from my Daddy for Halloween costumes. But I never imagined one as a dress, and now I am convinced I need one, of course. X² is coming soon via Kickstarter, so if anyone else is as excited about this as I am, I will pass on the info when it comes.
The shirt Alicia is holding up is part of X², and the purple one was done by a volunteer. The most beautiful thing about this process to me is that there are a million variables: different concentrations of bleach and dye produce different results, as do different fabric blends. Alicia and her team embrace the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which can be (inexpertly) summed up as follows: what is most natural, is most beautiful. This means every piece is unique, and there are no errors–everything that made a piece turn out the way it did, is a beautiful thing. It’s a magnificent way to look at art, and at life. But perhaps the most remarkable thing of all is that this entire collaboration began entirely by chance, when a Caltech physicist and a talented fashion designer happened to sit next to each other on a Southwest flight from New York to LA. It’s a reminder to us all that we never know when something extraordinary, something magic, is going to happen. And a reminder to run with it when it does.