The Manhattan Apparel Project is a social fashion brand that aims to bring art education to local youth regardless of background, means, or gender. All of our workshops are completely free of charge and funded through sales of the Manhattan Apparel line of clothing. Led by emerging and established artists and designers, the workshops explore a variety of different styles and media as influenced by each guest artist. An on-going printmaking series teaches kids techniques for making prints. The collaborative works created during these sessions in turn serve as inspiration to the MAP line of clothing and accessories.
Lego Accessory Workshop with Dee & Ricky Jackson:
Our first guest artist workshop was held at a homeless shelter for youth with guest designer Ricky Jackson. The kids loved working with Ricky and together they created a number of imaginative wearable pieces using only Legos.
Dee & Ricky Jackson are the design duo best known for their colorful, quirky, Lego® based designs. Notable figures from Kanye West to Takashi Murakami have all been spotted wearing their designs and they have done collaborations with the likes of Marc Jacobs and G-Shock.
Printmaking Workshop with Christine Garvey:
The most recent workshop was be led by printmaker Christine Garvey.
Christine Garvey is a Brooklyn based artist who works in drawing, print, and collage. She studied Printmaking & Drawing at Washington University in St. Louis and went on to study with Master Printer Kitikong Tilokwattanotai at Chiang Mai Art on Paper Studios in Thailand. She later worked with printmaker Nicola Lopez as a studio assistant and coordinator. She enjoys Francis Bacon, finely sharpened pencils, and collaborations of all kind.
An Interview with Andrea Fennewald
MAP's Founder & Director
How did Manhattan Apparel Project start?
I was brainstorming ways in which I could do something I love, make a living, and feel like I was making a difference all at the same time and somehow came up with the idea for The Manhattan Apparel Project.
How many workshops have you had?
So far weʼve had 2 workshops and our 3rd workshop, with guest artist Agata Olek, is in the works.
Can you explain to me what you did for this workshop with Christine?
All of our workshops start off with an exploration of the medium in which the guest artist works and then lead into a hands-on activity. So for the printmaking workshop, Christine first helped the kids understand exactly what a print is, how prints are made, and where we see examples of prints in our everyday life. We talked about famous printmakers in history and then looked at a few works of Francis Bacon. Bacon is an artist who inspires Christine and who led her to create a series of “monster prints”. Using Christineʼs monster prints as inspiration, the children came up with their own fantastical monsters. We used a styrofoam printing technique to draw and stamp the monsters on paper.
What kind of apparel will be made from Christine's workshop?
Weʼre starting off with t-shirts and dresses. The garments will incorporate the dark, watercolor-like elements that are characteristic in Christineʼs monster prints.
In addition, the kids' artwork will be incorporated through hand-drawn garment tags. During the workshops, each child designs a small fabric tag that is numbered and affixed to the piece of clothing. Customers can then go online to enter that number and learn more about the child who created it.
Where can we buy these garments?
The garments will soon be available online and in select boutiques.
How did Christine's workshop differ from the first?
Our last workshop was with Lego accessory designer Ricky Jackson (of Dee & Ricky). In the beginning of the workshop, Ricky talked about what led him to start making accessories from Legos and who/what inspires him as a designer. He then helped the kids create their own unique wearable pieces of Lego art.
How do you know that particular artists will be good with helping MAP in a new workshop?
I look for artists doing cool new things across a number of realms. If I find the work inspiring, if itʼs age appropriate, and if I think it will inspire interesting apparel or accessories, then thatʼs a good start. Itʼs also important that the artists have experience working with children and are able to engage with them on their level.
How do you come up with the activities?
Each workshop is based on and developed in part with the help of the guest artist. Itʼs important to find activities that allow the children to explore the medium and style of the guest artist while also being age appropriate. At the end of the day itʼs all about the kids having fun, so I simply try to think about what projects I would be into if I were a kid.
How long does the process take for you from start to finish of one workshop?
Itʼs a long process, especially at this stage as a young company working to establish relationships with artists, schools, and factories. As we streamline things over time, the process will be shorter.
How do kids get involved with MAP?
Our workshops are currently held at public schools on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. As business grows, we hope to bring our workshops to other neighborhoods and boroughs throughout New York City.
Where were you born? Raised?
Born and raised in Missouri. Went to school in Chicago/London and have been living in NY for 5yrs.
When did fashion start to influence you?
When I was a kid. I used to put on fashion shows in my basement and Iʼd force all the little neighborhood kids to walk in them.
Did you always want to have a company of your own?
I think Iʼve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and always known I wanted to do something that I felt passionate about.
How has MAP affected your life?
Iʼm always thinking about the company and what I need to do next. There are no breaks.
What are 4 things you can't live without?
1. Friends & Fam
3. Strong black tea
4. Super duper curl controlling products
What are the 5 best reasons to live in NYC?
1. The energy of the city is contagious
2. Amazing art. From uptown museums to downtown galleries and street art, thereʼs always more to be seen.
3. All day weekend brunches
4. Rooftop parties
5. You can be anything you want to be! My mother used to tell me that, but living in MO, itʼs not really true. Here in NY, you could try on a new profession each and every day of the week and never get bored.
Visit MAP's sites!
JESSIE ROSE VALA
Questions with the bi-coastal artist
and her experience at the Black Mesa
A retail concept with swim shorts from Morocco and hand mixed apothecaries
FAST COMPANY SF
Exploring the female fixed
biking culture in San Francisco, CA