Why You’ll Want to Check Out This Fashion Exhibition

It’s a team up between a local fashion school and an art museum.

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will present “Fashion Focus | Home,” a special collaboration with the Fashion Design Department at Mount Mary University that highlights portfolios and garment collections designed and handmade by students and alumnae of the Wauwatosa school.

A broadcast news report about Mount Mary’s fashion design program prompted the collaboration, which will be on display from Dec. 17 through Jan. 29 at the museum’s Rooftop Lounge, a light-filled third-floor venue used for art pop-ups.

The collections highlighted in the broadcast shared a common theme with the museum’s exhibition “Home,” each reflecting on memory, contemplation and reclamation of home. Mount Mary designers found inspiration in the places and people that define home for them, resulting in creations that not only transport viewers, but also promote greater understanding of belonging, origins and even displacement.

In conversation, Mount Mary University and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art developed “Fashion Focus | Home.” Central to the collaboration is course curriculum based on the concept of home developed by Mount Mary assistant professor Elena Pitts.


 

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“Mount Mary University is ranked as one of the most ethnically and economically diverse universities in the Midwest and our students understand the importance of their cultural diversity, too,” Pitts said. “Our designers use the lens of fashion to voice their unique perspectives and communicate their heritage and identities.”

Mount Mary fashion design graduates Asma Dasan, Anastasia Gouchtchina, Maka Muhidin and Shoua Xiong are represented by their junior and senior collections as well as preparatory materials. Current students May Martinez-Gonzalez, Ro Storrs, Kailey Stout and Leann Monika Wolf have shared their process books, presentation folders and sketches illustrating their responses to home.

“Fashion Focus | Home” not only provides an opportunity to reflect on the exhibition “Home,” it also reveals how deeply personal inspiration can be for artists working in all media. It also encourages viewers to consider the significance of the garments they choose to wear and how they resonate with individual histories and identities.

“I was born in Belarus and moved to Wisconsin in 2000. My family worked hard with very little to live, and our comfort was our traditions,” said Gouchtchina, a 2022 Mount Mary graduate who is showing her collection “Unorthodox Gold.” “I grew up feeling embarrassed about things that made me different but now I only see the beauty.”

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.