A Word from the Creative Director

At DONT WALK Charity Fashion Show, we celebrate the complexity of ambiguity in all forms of artistry, and as such, we strive to underscore the impact, or shock value, that can be achieved by juxtaposing one visual experience against the other. This year’s thematic focus on surrealism informs the controversial and unorthodox nature of DONT WALK, and is conveyed through the various artistic mediums used to communicate our vision.

Surrealism is the liberation of the unconscious, an undiscriminating fantasy that defines the norms of rationalism and releases the mind from the restrictions of convention. Rooted in paradox, the surrealist image is shocking, perverse, and ultimately profound in the way it undermines expectations. It poses psychological questions about the nature of reality and human existence. Ironically humorous, yet also deeply disconcerting, surrealist art gives voice to messages that challenge, subvert, and inspire.

The Model Introduction Shoot, ‘Ceci N’est Pas Moi’, is originally inspired by Rene Magritte’s The Treachery of Images (1928). The infamous image shows a pipe with “ceci n’est pas une pipe” written below it. The statement is interpreted to mean that the painting is not a pipe itself, but rather an image of a pipe. It embraces a similar irony to the name of our show. Our refusal to follow convention is proudly displayed in our name, DONT WALK, a coy command challenging our understanding of the role models play in a fashion show. Subsequently, the shoot was titled ‘Ceci N’est Pas Moi’ — dedicating itself to one of the wittiest and most thought-provoking artists in the traditional landscape of surrealism.(http://dontwalkfashion.com/magazine.pdf)

At first glance, the viewer might believe the models are merely holding a painting. With further observation, they take note of the fact that the models are rather holding a mirror, reflecting an object of mundane nature. It is inspired by the illusionistic qualities of Magritte’s artwork. However, it also draws inspiration from Marcel Duchamp’s “Readymades”. Duchamp gives himself wholly to randomness of chance, creating unexpected works of art that could not have been made according to rules, but only organically. His “readymades” — found objects, are presented as art, rupturing the link between art and the artist’s controlled decision making. The randomness of his “readymades” questions the very notion of art and the adoration of art itself.

Similar to the objective of our www.dontwalkfashion.tumblr.com blog, we strive to create more than just a pretty image, but rather generate a mood, a feeling, or an ambiance. It is through the fusion of images, music, and videos that we communicate this. In this intersection of art, fashion, and unconscious desire, the mind must rise above the matter in the process of interpretation.

The release of our Mind/Matter short films is infused with this spirit of surrealism, exploring the objectification of models in fashion. Mind/Mattercounters the reductivist tendency to view the model as little more than a mute mannequin or passive cipher. It is the unique voice and agency of our models that makes this, and every year’s iteration of DONT WALK such a celebration of the creative spirit.

Mind/Matter has taken inspiration from a myriad of surrealist artists; namely, Man Ray, Réne Magritte, and André Breton. Breton wrote the surrealist manifesto with a great deal of absurdist humor, the same humor encompassing our own artwork. Throughout the short films are subtle images drawn directly from Ray’s most successful works such as “Le Violin D’Ingres” and “Les Larmes” and André Masson’s “Mannequin”. Magritte’s “The Lovers”, “The Son of Man”, and “La Magie Noire” are also featured throughout.

An embellished canvas designed to unsettle and provoke, Mind/Mattershowcases a surreal montage of objects and bodies inexplicably fused and paradoxically arranged. Closely related to Sigmund Freud’s concept of “fetishism”, the ordinary objects in Mind/Matter are fetishized as a result of the human ability to project our desires onto the mundane. However random these depicted objects may be, the meaning of the object itself is not nearly as significant as the implication human psychology gives it. Buried inMind/Matter’s seemingly nonsensical images are opportunities to see the world, and our place in it, in a radically different way. Using the eye of an artist or poet, and not that of a scientist, we explore the realm of the unconscious without recourse to the logic of material, everyday reality.

Creative Director: Leigh Walderman — Creative Director’s Assistant: Martin Lyle — Videographer: Kathleen Fraese — Make up Artistry: Meredith Rowlands — Hair Styling: Sophie Butler — Fashion Coordinator: Matthew Akintunde — Featured Brands: Rick Owens, David Wellington, Stephen Garvey, Worsley
Leigh Walderman