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Dec 7, 2010 11:46 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Montauk Artist Holds Fashion Meets Art Contest

Dec 7, 2010 11:46 AM

Montauk artist Anne Drager is fascinated by the idea of clothing as art. So when she chose to set up a booth at the “One Of A Kind” independent art and artisan show in Manhattan in November, she decided that it was the perfect time to share her passion with the world.

Citing inspiration from 14-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, who writes “The Style Rookie” blog, Ms. Drager said that Ms. Gevinson’s ideas about the art of fashion have become a touchstone for those seeking out the symbiotic relationship between clothing and artistic expression.

Launching a “Fashion Meets Art” contest to coincide with the art show, Ms. Drager sought out others with similar interests to uncover the most innovative art-inspired clothing ensemble to display on her personal fashion website, annedrager.blogspot.com. Her goal was simple: to draw attention to her own clothing line and online shop, as well as to pay homage to her personal inspirations.

“[I’m] being drawn to more fashion that is art-like,” said Ms. Drager, who learned to sew when she was 4 years old and living in Germany with her grandmother. Since then, Ms. Drager, who is also a photographer and mixed-media artist, now fabricates art pieces, jewelry and clothing for clients.

“I’m not strictly a person who makes clothes,” said Ms. Drager. “Making clothes is part of the extended creative process, I approach it in the same way.”

Ms. Drager got the ball rolling on the “Fashion Meets Art” competition at the end of October. The contest culminated with a fashion show at the “One Of A Kind Show” at the end of November. Though the competition time line was brief, she reported that she received 30 entries, which she was said was a pleasant response.

“Ideally, I would have liked to run the contest a little longer,” said Ms. Drager, who added that she is planning to repeat the contest during “New York Fashion Week” next year.

Entries were submitted via e-mail or were taken by photographers present at the actual art show, according to Ms. Drager, who said that she set up a photo booth with props at her exhibit to encourage participants.

“At my booth in the city you could talk to people, provide props and take merchandise from my booth [to model],” she added.

The winners of the competition were chosen by fashion-world friends of Ms. Drager and were awarded gift certificates to her online shop. The first-place winner was also invited to codesign an outfit with Ms. Drager.

Additionally, visitors to the blog were prompted to vote on every ensemble that was submitted by participants in the contest. They could vote that the outfit was either funny, interesting or cool, Ms. Drager said. All told, the contest attracted more than 2,000 site views, she added.

The winning entry was submitted by a woman identified as “Ziggy,” who lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and popped into Ms. Drager’s booth at the show. Ziggy wore one of Ms. Drager’s dresses, a blue denim frock with white flowers and accented with lace. The second-place winner, Joanna Stark of Manhattan, wore an all-white dress with a silver belt and flowing white sleeves. And the third-place winner, retired NBC anchorwoman Connie Collins, constructed what she called “the catwalk dress.”

Ms. Collins, who lives in East Hampton, said that she took a sewing class from Ms. Drager about a year ago. She reported that after hearing about the contest, she constructed her dress out of three different frocks she bought while vacationing in Mexico.

“You can get three or four dresses for $5,” said Ms. Collins, who bought the dresses in San Miguel de Allende. “I cut them and put them together and had a friend sew them.” Her friend, Mona Ruckert of Jamesport, modeled the animal-print ensemble on Ms. Drager’s website.

At the “One Of A Kind Show,” Ms. Drager said that she had a fantastic firsthand experience in which art literally collided with fashion when Matt Shapoff of Handmade on Peconic Bay approached her with an art print, and together they affixed it to a pair of jeans. The print was on a fabric badge, according to Ms. Drager, that she sewed to the knee of the pants.

Mr. Shapoff said he uses a 19th century printing process in order to make art prints on fabric, bags and other items. In this instance, an image of the phases of the moon was imprinted onto a small square of fabric.

“It was a really brilliant move,” said Mr. Shapoff, of Ms. Draper’s ability to add his art to a pair of blue jeans. “I’m wearing them constantly.”

Emphasizing the nature of the way that art and fashion connect people, Ms. Drager said she met Mr. Shapoff, and his wife, Cynthia Rybakoff—who modeled in the competition—for the first time at the art show.

“I met them there and patched up a blue jean,” said Ms. Drager. “That was really when fashion met art.”

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