Artist-turned fashion designer Sterling Ruby blurs the line between visual art and fashion.
Many of fashion’s top designers work somewhere between fashion and visual art. Californian artist Sterling Ruby has always leant towards the fashion world. He learnt to sew at 13, and incorporates fabrics into his art practice. The artist has had numerous exhibitions of clothing hung on the walls of galleries, the pieces dyed in Ruby’s signature splattered style.
In June 2019, Sterling Ruby held his first ever runway fashion show. Inside a disused 19th-century hay manger, Ruby debuted his fashion line, S.R. Studio. L.A. C.A. Pieces fit in well with the artist’s existing oeuvre: a collaged and distressed poncho and jeans co-ord, denim bleached and dyed like colourful Rorschach tests.
As part of this collection, the artist has handmade some garments himself with the label: S.R. Studio. L.A. C.A. Unique.
Speaking to Vogue, Ruby said:
“The Unique line are pieces that exist as unique works made by me. I only make one of them; only one exists. I envision this becoming our atelier’s bastard version of Haute Couture.”
When he’s not working on clothes, Sterling Ruby’s practice takes a mixed-media approach. Sculptures made from poured polyurethane, ceramics, drawings, spray-paintings and videos shot with drones comprise twenty years of his work in the visual art scene.
Ruby’s art explores the distinctly American experience and sits somewhere between assembly and disassembly. Between creation and destruction.
Already celebrated internationally for his art, Ruby is emerging as one of the most singular and interesting designers in the field. World-renowned fashion journalist Suzy Menkes stated after his debut show, “That was the best new-person collection I have ever seen”.
Of course, while Ruby is indeed a “new person” when it comes to catwalks, he has been working in this very specialised field for over three decades.
Sterling Ruby has alsocollaborated with Dior and Calvin Klein creative director Raf Simons. In 2009, they worked together to create a capsule collection of denim jeans and jackets. The pair collaborated again in 2014, designing a FW14 collection carrying the label “Raf Simons/Sterling Ruby”.
Regardless, Ruby’s solo show is fully engineered by the artist himself. The collections draws on themes of his personal journey. Printed dresses sported images shot by Melanie Shiff, Ruby’s wife. Much of the artist’s life and artwork is entangled within this collection.
Ruby told i-D:
“Making clothing started out very privately. Wearing it personally, and occasionally gifting it to friends, it was really only seen by the people closest to me.”
Check out some of S.R. Studio. L.A. C.A:
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