Friday, October 24, 2014

Guest Post: Christian L Harris - God Save the Prince

We love seeing what our customers are up to and when we came across Christian's project, it was just too fantastic not to share with you. Fabric as wearable art and a good cause to boot! Without further ado we would like to introduce you to Christian Harris! 


My name is Christian L Harris. I am a fashion designer finishing up my Master of Fine Arts degree at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I have also taught fashion at American Intercontinental University and interned in New York for seven months. I started sewing in 2007 and haven’t stopped since. I own 5 sewing machines (Brother home sewer, Pfaff industrial zig-zag, 1938 singer 201, singer pro-finish serger and a Huskylock s25) and my fabric buying addiction is ever so out of control. There is nothing like the rush of a new email from Fabric Mart with “50-60% off Fabric and 1 crazy price” in the subject line.

My MFA thesis collection, God Save the Prince, has won features from ELLE, Esquire, WWD, Atlanta Magazine and others. The collection is inspired by hemophilia and the individuals touched by hemophilia, a debilitating and even fatal disorder of the blood. The last heir to the Russian throne suffered from hemophilia at a time when the average age of hemophiliac death was eleven years old. Fearful, the Imperial family did not disclose the heir’s affliction to the public. Guarding the secret meant a life away from the public eye. This seclusion and secrecy widened the divide between the Imperial family and the Russian people, and was in many ways an antecedent to the Russian Revolution. A year after the fall of Russian Imperialism, the Imperial family was executed. The seven members of the last Imperial family became a second focus of the collection.


The focus on the family became more central as the collection developed. While working on the collection, I lost my dear grandmother and my father. Creating pieces that were meant to honor the memory of the Romanovs helped me to cope with my own losses. I designed the collection as if each article belonged to a specific member of the last Imperial family. Many of the pieces in the collection were created for the life they never got to realize. For example, I included a wedding gown because sadly, the daughters did not live long enough to marry. It has also been said that other royal families in Europe knew the Romanov daughters could be carriers of hemophilia and that limited the number of suitors willing to court them.


Having hemophilia myself, I often felt alone and limited as a child so I understand what life may have been like for the Imperial family. I was not allowed to participate in many of the activities other children were able to partake in for fear of injury. Painting and drawing helped supplement my time and became a form of therapy. My mentors in the hemophilia community were also very supportive and pivotal in helping me to find my way. Many of my mentors received blood treatment products tainted with HIV before screening began in the mid-1980s. Sadly, about ninety (90%) percent of severe hemophiliacs were infected and thousands died.


Seventy percent of my earnings from the sale of the collection and the collateral materials will be forwarded to the hemophilia and bleeding disorders community. Namely, the Committee of Ten Thousand (COTT) and local chapters of the National Hemophilia Foundation. COTT “is a grass-roots, peer-led, education, advocacy and support organization for persons with HIV disease. The majority of our constituency is persons with hemophilia who contracted HIV/AIDS from tainted blood products” (www.cott1.org).


I have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds needed to finish and photograph the collection. The whole process of photographing the collection will involve members of the hemophilia and bleeding disorders community. As an added treat for my fellow garment makers, the video that accompanies the campaign shows the complete development and construction of one of the gowns from the collection! This particular gown, is made with fabrics from Fabric Mart. The buttons on the gown also came from Fabric Mart in an assorted button bundle I got free during one of my fabric buying binges! (LOVE THOSE BUNDLES!!!) Go to www.gofundme.com/godsavetheprince to access the campaign and video.


Ultimately, I set out to use my knowledge of garment design to create wearable art pieces. I am so happy to have been a longtime customer of Fabric Mart because their beautiful fabrics made it possible for me to begin to realize my dream!

Please be sure to take a look at my GoFundMe campaign to see how I used my goodies from Fabric Mart. If you are able to contribute to the campaign, your donations would be greatly appreciated! Please feel free to share my story and the campaign with your friends and loved ones! Thanks!

Warmest,
Christian L Harris
ChristianLHarris.com


Have a great project you would like to share with us? Email us at fabricmartblog@gmail.com 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, fantastic pieces and thank you for bringing awareness to this disorder! Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete

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