Forks and fashion


If it rained, Chris Choe's raincoat could fill 1,400 cups of tea. Photo: Carson Kessler
SVA students created offbeat designs made out of silverware, pennies and tea bags and for a Madison Avenue BID event
By carson kessler

Using 382 forks, 59 spoons and two ladles, design student Filipa Mota designed the perfect, 1920’s-inspired cocktail dress.

Displayed on the corner of East 69th Street, Mota’s stainless-steel dress is one of 14 original ensembles decorating the sidewalks of the luxury shopping strip on Madison Avenue between 61st and 76th streets.

With the guidance of Kevin O’Callaghan, 3D Design Chair at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts, 20 undergraduate design students created offbeat pieces to accompany the 36 premiere brands participating in the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District’s One-of-a-Kind Luxury Event.

Participants include brands such as Bottega Veneta and Dolce & Gabbana, all featuring a roster of one-of-a-kind products for sale at their Madison Avenue locations.

“[The event] is homage to the creativity of the brands found here and to the New York City brick-and-mortar shopping experience,” said Matthew Bauer, President of the Madison Avenue BID. “We wanted to make this event for the stores come to life on the street.”

The design students created raincoats made out of enough teabags to fill 1,400 cups of tea and stilettos made out of enough pencils to write 12.9 million words.

Each piece was made out of a single material and installed in a glass case outside of participating stores. Statistics accompanied each student’s creation, putting into perspective the astonishing number of items that went its development.

“People are amazed that there is art on the street like this, in glass cases,” O’Callaghan said. “I’m being told that it’s kind of a game-changer, bringing the art to areas that don’t have the facilities to [show] art.”

Students used the opportunity of a public art exhibition to highlight bigger themes, such as consumer trends and waste.

“I used pennies to underline the money that we spend on fashion,” said Mert Avadya of the inspiration behind her dress made out of 12,500 pennies. James Tsang used 225 RAM chips, a common source of e-waste, to create his armor-inspired design.

The multi-dimensional event created an unusual experience for shoppers. “A key attribute that makes Madison Avenue able to attract both the international visitor and the local client is that our boutiques present items that are truly one-of-a-kind,” Bauer said.

The One-of-a-Kind luxury event is scheduled to close on November 15.