“The idea of our workshops with kids is to sensitize them to fashion, and more generally to art as well as to ecology by recycling and customizing clothes, in a funny, playful and colorful way.”
Andrea Crews – fashionista’s fashionista; band of pirates; performance guerillas! The Paris based collective led by Maroussia Rebecq are located somewhere between art and fashion via a peculiar participatory activism that is all about personal creativity, experimentation and independence.
Gaining credibility in all the right fashion quarters – Paris’s famous independent Colette store is a stockist amongst many others – Andrea Crews vibrant, inventive collections and accessories begin life as glorious transformations of second-hand clothes and unwanted stock before favourites are selected to become prototypes for each collection. The collective also create limited edition prints using screenprintings, drawings and flocking in hallucinating colors and materials. The results are amazingly experimental, witty, colourful and eyecatching. There is never a dull moment in the Andrea Crews universe.
Alongside the fashion, Andrea Crews works with artists and stylists to shake up public spaces and galleries to give them a dose of the label’s radical experimental art and fashion flavour. And from this stems the Andrea Crews fashion and art workshops for kids using clothes as an inspiration – inviting children to create their own world of radical fashion dress-up. The most recent took place in Brussels for the Fête de l’Iris and resulted in a mini collection that is available to buy at the Andrea Crews website. We spoke to Maroussia herself about Andrea Crews and making fashion fun for kids.
Your creative, uninhibited fashion seems really suited for adaptation for kids. When/how did you first see this as an extension for Andrea Crews?
Since the start of Andrea Crews, ten years ago now, the idea was to involve as many people as possible in the project. I was loving, and still today, the creativity, the craziness and the spontaneity of children which are things I’m interested in in the creation process. My idea of fashion is not only clothes, but more how to play with it, which is something kids have a great ability to do.
Is the Andrea Crews fashion easy for children to react to?
Andrea Crews is fun, funky, colorful and playful, so kids, even though they don’t care about “fashion”, love it and see it as a game. I love it! I think today fashion is too serious, and that people don’t take any risks with it whereas there is loads to do with it. Also, maybe kids see it as a way to become someone else, like a big alive cartoon, a disguise… Children always react positively to the workshops and really go into it. They have sometimes so much energy, it is good to see.
I like how you say ‘to sensitize children to fashion and art’. Why do you think this is important?
We love to organize workshops with kids from different background, especially kids that are not used to art, fashion, etc. This is important to me, because I’m also an activist in the way that I see art and fashion as a medium to denounce and make people react. Clothing is something we use everyday, so I think it’s important not to take it that easy, but to use it to think and question norms and boundaries. When we organize kids workshops, we teach the kids that clothing and fashion is something we can have fun with too, and the workshops are heaps funny, I think they learn better.
Is there any difference between the way you approach workshops and design when you are working with children?
Not really… we don’t think children are dumb so when we organize workshops, we do it the same whether it’s for adults or for kids. We just try to make it fun and having good pieces at the end.
Any great moments from the children’s workshops?
A lot!! All of the children’s workshops have been really good!
What should someone do if they want to organise/book an Andrea Crews workshop?
Take a lot of clothes, bring a lot of children, and book the workshop in a nice and urban area or in a big field of flowers.
How radical can children be?
Children are the most radical. They don’t have to think about their reputations or how bad/good is it to act, they do! Which is someone great. If they have to say something, they will say it!
If you are interested in the Andrea Crews workshops, see www.andreacrews.com.