The Freedom Tower Effect

The NYC Fashion & Lifestyle Festival was recently hosted on the 68th floor of the One World Trade Center, Freedom Tower building, boasting a panoramic view of the city. Hosted in part by Globe Fashion Week and WG Empire, the event featured a sampling of fashion, design and lifestyle related vendors. In the mix of it all, several prominently displayed art installations were on view by various artists participating in the showcase.

Moving through the space, guests encountered large, cylindrical shapes, piled on top of one another and covered in brightly colored fabrics. While the pieces appear to be structurally industrial in nature — some organically shaped and others resembling what could be large steel piping — the surface texture is that of various textiles that mimic clothing. Yang Mai juxtaposes form and function in a way that examines the use of textiles in relation to clothing. Elements of clothing-specific fabrics are incorporated into his sculptural works, providing commentary on form and function of our daily use and adornment of these materials.

Lin Wang’s eye-catching mixed media installation at one of the event entrances seemed to garner curiosity among guests as they entered the room. Featuring a floor to ceiling projection, Wang’s installation was composed of twelve wigs — seven black, one white, two gray and one pink — individually set atop twelve unseen portable rotating massage machines, creating the illusion that the wigs were somehow mobile yet suspended in place. The wall projection that sat just in front of them played a video that captured a grid of 16 towering fans, each with a wig attached to the front, blowing at various stages throughout the video. The peculiarity of these elements made for much-muted attention.

Artist and designer known on instagram as @CoralRainCan’s neon light filled installation was another artistic highlight, with guests endlessly snapping photos of her work as they made their way through the space. Although the space inhabited by her installation featured a larger-than-life measuring tape decal that went from the floor and continued on the wall, it seemed to appropriately incorporate the nature of the event with her works. Two folding chairs anchored the whimsical installation, adorned with a cocktail of found objects, assembled items, neon signs and various mixed media wall mounted pieces. The use of “household” objects made the installation cozy and inviting, despite the aggressive neon elements.

Although the event’s main attraction was a designated runway of sorts, periodically graced by models showcasing designer menswear to a herded audience, the featured artworks held their weight amongst the vendor tables and stalls featuring high-end, luxury brands and fashion designer samples.


– Kimberly Henderson

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