New York Fashion Week kicks off in two days (!!!), but it is not only for the elite, style-forward mavens of Vogue as one may think. Fashion Week is for the creative and the curious as well.
“HA!” you might be thinking. “This girl clearly has never attempted to attend a fashion week show, ever.”
And you’d be right, which is exactly why I’m not going wax poetic about the genius that is Proenza Schouler or Miu Miu — but instead, focus on the fashion that is so very you.
Bill Hayward and Psychology Tomorrow have teamed up for Let Loose Your Fashion, a free event where you are encouraged to create fashion that represents you — instead of wearing something that represents something or someone else.
Let’s take a step back: Hayward, a New York based photographer, has photographed everyone from Bob Dylan to Ronald Reagan to Stephanie Saland (of the NYC Ballet). After establishing a strong foundation in portrait photography, he sharply veered away from the standard, “come in, direct model, take several snaps, leave,” formalities of the portraiture process.
Instead, he created a new style of photography that spawned two collections: The Human Bible and Bad Behavior. In this redeveloped format, the subject sat down with Hayward and talked about whatever he/she wanted. After that conversation, the subject of the portrait is given black paint, white paper and the encouragement to let his/her creativity take shape in any way that is personally relevant. This style of portraiture, which Hayward calls, "portraits of the collaborative self," allows the subject to tap into his/her subconscious creativity that is typically stifled in our society.
Unsurprisingly, the results are unique and amazing.
Hayward describes the process as, “reclaiming the authority of one’s own imagination,” because let’s be real — when’s the last time you truly let all your shit go and just let your imagination do all the work? This is exactly Hayward’s point: “Given enough paint, paper, and permission, there's no telling where we might end up.”
Let Loose Your Fashion is an event where participants are able to do pretty much the same thing, but the paper becomes the “clothing” and vehicle for self-expression. Once the individual masterpieces are created, Hayward will photograph them to commemorate each person's self expression and add to the “portraits of the collaborative self” — aka collection of people who desire self-expression and creativity.
Just take a look at the portraits from the last time there was an event like this!
Psychology Tomorrow wants their attendees to finally tap into that creative center of their brains and explore parts of themselves they might not even known were present.
I personally love that this event's juxtaposition with Fashion Week; the fashion industry is infamous for creating sexist expectations of women and impossible standards to reach. Here, the power has shifted — the clothes must bend to the person (and her imagination), rather the person submitting to the industry.
Sound like something you’d like to do on your Thursday night? Then leave your inhibitions at home, get yourself over to The High Line Hotel on Sept. 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. and get your paint on!
All images via Bill Hayward and Psychology Tomorrow