Hidden Treasures 

With Unfolding, Eye Level Art looks inside fashion history's attic

Unfolding: An Innovative Look at Fashion's Evolution
March 14, 6-10 p.m.
$10-$15
Eye Level Art Warehouse Gallery
2143 Heriot St., Ste. D
(843) 813-7782
www.eyelevelart.com

When organizing Unfolding — Eye Level Art's most fashion-forward event to date — gallery manager Adrienne Antonson gave 15 participating designers an open-ended assignment: Think about the role of fashion in their personal lives and how American history has shaped fashion today.

Antonson's vision for Unfolding was to transform Eye Level's warehouse space into something like a fashion museum, a space that felt like an attic.

"I want people to feel like they are discovering little points of interest throughout the show," she says. "I'm a thrifter at heart, and I love that feeling when you walk into an old antique shop and feel so overwhelmed by all the treasures — I intend for it to feel like that, too."

The artist lineup, all locals, includes Leigh Magar, whom Antonson describes as "unbelievable"; Brad Kneece from Worthwhile, who "has exquisite taste"; and Jessica Carpenter, whose "amazing" creations are made from felted wool.

The list goes on: Kaminer Haislip, Julie Klaper, Heather Koonse, Beth Coiner, Kimberly Hines, Janine McCabe, Michael Wiernicki, Molly Cox, Heather Carey, Erin White, and Krysten Adams — many of them students and professors from CofC's art and theater departments as well as students from the Charleston Art Institute. Modern dancer Beth Coiner will perform an interpretive piece on the theme of restriction.

"Usually a show like this brings out the usual suspects — and I would have my go-to list," Antonson says. "But I'm so excited because there are a lot of people who are incredible, who don't really get involved on this side."

What can we expect March 14? Antonson promises garments, accessories, and jewelry all hand-made from materials like silver, lace, and "pretty much anything they can get their hands on." There will also be an entire wall of fashion illustrations. "I've asked some draftsmen to do the conceptual, historical illustrations. So you'll see almost a studio, a working space," she says. The work will occupy the entire warehouse. The inside will be for art, the outside for food, a bar, and a ticket booth.

In what she calls a blending of clothing and conventional artwork, Antonson defines the pieces as conceptual, with some as "wearable art" to be purchased and "integrated into your wardrobe." However, while the show will be a mixed bag, she says, there will still be a consistent theme — historic moments in fashion.

From a creative standpoint, she is interested in how to celebrate the ways in which people adorn themselves — from foot binding in China to the neck rings indicative of African cultures.

Antonson says she aims to create shows that complement Charleston Fashion Week (the events are unaffiliated). At Unfolding, attendees will have the opportunity to "really get up close and personal to the art."

As for future endeavors, Antonson says Eye Level is going to shock people by "becoming a blank creative space — a very community-based, open minded, progressive art space." She hints at a forthcoming relocation by Eye Level to a bigger location downtown in May. "It's going to be unbelievable, that's all I'm allowed to say." In addition, Eye Level's planner is chock full of upcoming competitive art events, cookouts, and picnics. "You never know what you're going to get from us. It's like a crazy train — I'm just hanging on the back."

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