Three simple words, “America Made Me,” elicit unique feelings and emotions in each of us. They may summon images of products: a Thunderbird convertible, a bottle of Coca Cola, or the classic little red wagon. Others may think of their immigrant grandfather or the hometown boy who became famous. The invention of the internet or the latest mobile device may come to mind, but the common thread is an acknowledgement of America’s desire to make and create.
wanted design exhibition
“America Made Me” examines how the creative worlds of art, fashion and design draw strength and inspiration from one another, and how their union illustrates the relevance of American craft and heritage.
The exhibition, which debuted at Wanted Design in New York, presented a firsthand look at the creation of authentic blue jeans, from bolts of selvage denim to the designers’ personal signatures on each pair.
American “jeansmiths,” Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim, used vintage sewing machines, hand work, and traditional construction methods to create the perfect pair of blue jeans.
Artist Jephson Robb’s 84 inch hand carved sculptures of solid walnut and bronze integrated art into the installation. Aptly titled “Clothes Horse,” the six unique pieces embraced and enhanced the blue jeans, while remaining at their essence, striking works of art.
Design was represented in the exhibition by Powerbar. The design concept for Powerbar revealed how one creative field can inspire new ideas in another. Based on fundamental elements of vintage fabric-cutting tables, Raleigh Denim created a meeting and dining table tailor made for the iPad generation.
Even though the words “America Made Me” have a very different meaning to a North Carolina fashion house and a Scottish artist, they merge into one common belief: The American heritage of creating and making both products and people is alive, ever-adapting and ready to make its mark in a new century.