PHOTOS: MassArt’s 2013 Wearable Art Fashion Exhibit at Copley Place Mall

Take a close-up look at MassArt's annual fashion exhibit and you'll fine mirrors, fake hair, CDs, and more unconventional materials.

The sophomores at MassArt have created an eye-catching exhibit, on display from today until October 1. (Photos by Margaret Burdge)

The eye-catching exhibit is on display from today until October 1. (Photos by Margaret Burdge)

Starting today and continuing through October 1, as you window-shop in Copley Place Mall, some unexpected items may catch your eye. Between the storefronts lined with fall sweaters and the newest Coach totes, film strips dangle about the legs of a mannequin and faux hair is braided intricately into a fitted bodice.

These unconventional dresses are more than fashion; they are a part of MassArt’s Wearable Art exhibit. Featuring eight student works made of everything from angelic feathers to less-than-ordinary twist ties, these garments blur the line between art and fashion.

“It’s a Fashion Department requirement to make a non-textile your sophomore year,” said Marsha Titova, a sophomore at the school while explaining her piece, “Eclectic.” “That was my take on a non-textile in making a garment.”

Titova’s dress, made of electronic strips, computer parts, and CDs is the only one that lights up thanks to the LED lights she installed. “I had a broken hair straightener,” said Titova of her inspiration. “And being at art school, I don’t throw anything out because you never know when you’re going to use something.”

After giving her life away to the project, however–would she be a true college student if she didn’t?–Titova’s not ready to give up on non-textiles just yet. “I’m planning on taking a CAD class and learning 3D printing, and I want to do some more LED/electronic stuff, and see what I can do with other weird materials,” she said. “I’m kind of obsessed now.”

With a little bit of hoarding and a lot of hard work (Titova estimates that she spent at least five days straight working on the project), the artists at MassArt participated in their own pseudo-Project Runway challenge, resulting in pieces that look like gorgeous garments at first glance, but upon further inspection reveal intricate and unusual techniques.


“It all worked pretty well other than it took forever,” said Titova of her piece shown above. “Making it wasn’t really the problem. The problem is maintaining it and not having everything fall and peel off.”


The path to making her piece illuminate came fairly organically, said Titova. “I bought LED cords, and they have battery packs under each of the hips” (shown above). “When I was at my dad’s work, I was asking around if they could teach me how to circuit something to make it light up, and someone there pretty much told me a couple of different places I could buy stuff and how to do it. It just kind of happened last-minute.”

Christian Restrepo's piece made of feathers and painted potpourri wowed at the fashion show when it was modeled by a man.

Christian Restrepo’s piece made of feathers and painted potpourri wowed at the fashion show when it was modeled by a man.


Made of childhood film strips and VHS rolls, Alyssa Fishenden’s dress has a nostalgic and youthful quality.

Gloria Im

Inspired by Norse legends of Valhalla, Gloria Im’s “winged goddess” is fashioned out of window blinds.


Kimberly Nowers used more than 9,000 mirrored tiles on a window screening base to create this elegant evening gown.

Morgan Hill

A slightly eerie, yet simultaneously stunning creation, Morgan Hill’s piece is made entirely from faux hair. The intricately braided bodice offers a high-fashion feel, while the skirt visually references the material it is made of.


The shoulder and hip pieces on Sarah Buxton’s garment are composed of mirror and chip board, while candlewick tabs arranged meticulously make up the rest of the piece.

Sierra Chew_Chin

This dress brings a whole new meaning to twist-tying your vegetable bags at the grocery store. Through weaving, braiding, and lacing, Sierra Chew-Chin created this masterpiece out of twist ties.

The wearable art pieces are flanked by other works, including these costumes and evening gowns by MassArt fashion students.

 The third set of garments on display includes many ready-to-wear items.