UConn Project Fashion, the only fashion club on campus, collaborated with the William Benton Museum of Art to showcase looks inspired by the museum’s Guerrilla Girls collection in their “Activism Through Fashion” video presentation.
Members of the club came together to create looks inspired by the provocative art of the Guerrilla Girls. For those unfamiliar with the Guerrilla Girls, they are a group of anonymous artists who use their talents to advocate for feminist causes. This organization tackles issues such as gender and racial inequalities in the art world. They have completed over 100 projects, putting up posters and stickers all over the world including in New York, Los Angeles, London and Shanghai. The members created this lookbook to showcase outfits that make statements similar to the Guerrilla Girls’ messages through their art.
Five Project Fashion members participated in the video presentation, including Hillary Karl-Otto, the organization’s public relations chair. Karl-Otto was inspired by the Guerrilla Girls’ approach in highlighting tokenization of people of color in the art world, as it related to a past internship experience of hers. Her colleagues asked the POC interns questions about diversity, which made her and the other POC hires feel characterized as “diversity hires.” The Guerrilla Girls’ humor also played a large role in inspiring Karl-Otto’s look to spread awareness about tokenism in the art industry. Her outfit is a fun zebra pattern top under a black collar top with hand-splatters printed all over the chest. She also included earrings inspired by the Guerrilla Girls’ New York Times print.
John Bertenshaw’s outfit was inspired by the clear and demanding nature of the feminist group’s artwork. With a simple pair of shorts and shoes varying in neutral colors, Bertenshaw ties the look together with a bold graphic tee that reads “Think Globally,” which was inspired by the Guerrilla Girls’ demand for a change in perception towards environmental health, equality and change for the future of our planet.
“When putting together my look, I loved having the creative freedom to create an outfit that I felt represented the Guerrilla Girls and me,” said Daniella Green, a first-semester student in the exploratory program. One of the posters that inspired her look was the Guerrilla Girls’ most famous piece — their 1990 Metropolitan Museum of Art poster. Green’s pink ankle-length skirt pays homage to the color of the cloth on the Guerrilla Girls’ poster. Additionally, their “Review The Whitney” poster inspired the black jacket and boots that she chose for her look. To tie it all together, her “Females Of The Future” T-shirt represents the feminist group’s message of female empowerment.
“I hope that from the video, people will see that their fashion is a representation of themselves and can help show what they stand for,” Green said. “Whether it’s by wearing a graphic T-shirt or the type of brand they choose to wear.”
The video concludes with Natalya Marquez’s quote: “I genuinely believe that we are not free to be our most authentic selves until all oppressed and marginalized groups are able to do so.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Guerilla Girls’ work, feel free to visit the Benton Museum to get a closer look at the art collection dedicated to the group. The collection includes posters, such as those mentioned in Project Fashion’s video, newspaper covers and flyers.