By MIKE CHAIKEN
Connecticut fashion designer/ artist Ebony Amber is at it again.
And this time, the unveiling of her latest bout of creativity will benefit the Make-A-Wish CT Foundation.
Ebony Amber lives in Torrington and received statewide recognition as fashion designer of the year for Raw Natural Born Artists in 2012. She now is preparing for her next fashion show for her collection she has entitled, “Eternalism.”
The show will be held Saturday, May 31 and tickets for the charity event are on sale now.
Asked what story she is trying to tell with the collection, Ebony—who previously constructed her fashions under the name Asa Gleek—explained the collection is called “Eternalism” because it is based on the concept of time. Within her creations, she explained, past, present, and future co-mingle. And the collection works on the premise that there is no linear progression of time.
“I thought that really related with the styles I was coming up with,” said Ebony, whose name is really Ebony Parish. “Each piece could potentially fit in the past, now, or in the future. It has a kind of ‘Mad Max’- style.”
“But,” Ebony continued, “I took ideas from all different points of time and I tried to make these garments represent a strong character.”
As “Eternalism” began to evolve, Ebony said she became enamored with the models she was going to use for the show on May 31. Each of the models has her own experiences. Some are cancer survivors, said Ebony. Some have gone far in pursuing their education. Some have survived near fatal car accidents. The past of these models has influenced who they are in the present, and who they will be in the future, explained Ebony.
“When I put them in these garments, you can see their strength,” said Ebony.
Eventually, each piece in the collection was named after the model who will wear it.
In broader terms, said Ebony, the show became about the human race and being positive about it.
In previous efforts, Ebony relied on the concept of upcycling for construction. That approach continues with Eternalism. “This time around I’m upcycling leather jackets from the 1980s no one wants to wear,” said Ebony. “I wanted to bring something old into the show, bring it into the future, and make it beautiful.”
In addition to the leather, Ebony incorporated some pieces of fur she found in a box at an estate sale. Although she never would buy a fur coat because she doesn’t want to contribute to the process of its construction, she said, “When I see something already used, I don’t ignore its existence. I want to take it and turn it into something beautiful so people can respect it.”
Besides the upcycled leather and fur, Ebony said her collection uses 100 percent cotton, which she adorns with a spray paint effect. She also is hand stitching chain links to garments and hand cutting fringe.
“Nothing has come ready-made,” said Ebony.
When she was interviewed earlier in April, Ebony was still pulling together looks for May 31. She had 11 or 12 ready and was still working.
“It’s been a long process,” said Ebony. “It’s been a lot of experimentation. None of this is in a pattern book… You have to play with (the materials).”
As for why all proceeds from the May 31 fashion show will go toward Make-A-Wish, Ebony said she always has had an interest in helping children because they are “the next generation.” The mother of two also said several of her friends have children who are seriously ill.
Make-A-Wish was selected, in particular, because Ebony has a friend whose child benefitted from the foundation. Also, Ebony said Make-A-Wish has been easy to work with in preparation for the event and has shown appreciation for whatever funds the show may raise.
Ebony doesn’t know what to expect in terms of how much money will be raised. However, if she raises $4,000, she would be satisfied.
And although Ebony might lend her creations to people interested in wearing them, or she may wear them herself for her assorted side projects, don’t expect to buy them any time soon.
“The thing about me is, yes, I’m a fashion designer. But I’m not a ready-to-wear designer by any means. The pieces I make for my models, I consider walking sculptures…I don’t really make them to sell… or to mass produce. It’s just an idea I have as an artist and I want to make it happen and I don’t think past that.”
Ebony likened her fashion shows to performance art.
The fashion show for Ebony Amber’s “Eternalism” will be held Saturday, May 31 from 7 to 11 p.m. for audiences 16 and over. The show will be held at Coe Memorial Park Civic Center, 101 Litchfield St., Torrington. Each ticket will come with one free cupcake from Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes, who were 2013 winners on “Cupcake Wars.” Tickets also include a cup of coffee from Giv Coffee.
There also will be a silent auction.
During the night, guests will be entertained by Morris Parker, a hip hop dancer; Krizta Moon, a singer; Anatolia Firegoddess, a belly dancer; Helmholtz & Wiley, a drum and bass duo; and Bristol’s Jennifer Hill and Co., who will perform as a husband and wife piano and drums duo..
Tickets are $20. For tickets, go to http://www.showclix.com/event/EternalismFashionShowFundraiser
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN