LQQK, QREATE, WERQ
Gnat Madrid's Graduating Collection:
The Walk Fellowship Recipiant
Gnat’s fashion collections always address themes of queerness and gayness- and her collections are created to be unisex, so that the clothes can be worn by all genders: male, female, and those in between.
This year, (2013) Gnat began with inspiration from camping, hiking, and traveling outdoors. These boy-ish activities triggered frustration in her as a child, because her gender limited her participation in things like the boy scouts. Colorful camping ropes, tent shapes, versatile pockets and camouflage reference tools of the outdoors, which enable one to survive. ‘Survival’ has always functioned as a metaphor in her work, and Gnat addresses survival tactics that queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people must employ to keep themselves safe in a world where violence threatens them.
To further her research, Gnat spent 2 weeks in the woods, where she spent that time making paintings and sculpture during an artist resedency. These paintings informed all of the fabrics for her collection, and she engineered a dozen screen-prints for her collection. The sculptures she made informed the shapes of the garments, and the bright, whimsical colors of her paintings translated into the colors of the collection. Drawings became very relevant to the shapes and prints of the collection, and natural gestures translated into glasses and face pieces that function as styling pieces. Gnat used a laser-cutter to create custom-cut plastic and wood hardware for her collection
Gnat likes to makes clothes that are funny, and she often chooses overwhelming combinations of materials to achieve a ridiculous, extreme effect.
Central to the collection is the idea of VISIBILITY and INVISIBILITY. The camouflage prints in the collection are disabled by the neon and fluorescent colors that transform them into fabrics that will not allow a person to disappear. Camouflage is used in many one-piece garments that refuse to be blend in. Gnat is always creating garments for queer people who refuse to assimilate into hetero-normative culture.
Gnat became very inspired by gay and queer rappers, and by queer people of color, who are creating confrontational work that challenges oppressive, racist, homophobic, and transphobic institutions. Queer rap, hip-hop, and spoken word transcend the theoretical and academic perspectives of ‘Queer Theory’, and reach an audience that deals with the very real implications of being a type of person who experiences oppression and violence because of their race, gender, or sexuality.
Gnat’s models become warriors on the street- prepared with camouflage and tools for survival. They are creating a new culture of diversity, and they are representing a new generation of queer gender-rebels, who are not afraid to express their identities in a bright, dramatic, playful, and confrontational way.