Omaha Fashion Week is kicking off another season August 20-25, and we are thrilled to share more about our amazing lineup of designers!

Motivated by braids and sailor's knots, the collection "Intertwined" by Judy Bales Design is true to its name. Experimental construction methods, sculptural shapes, and intense colors create extreme interest and depth in this women's wear line!

How did you get into fashion? Share a little about your background.

My fashion work builds on 30 years of experience in diverse artistic endeavors, including fiber art, installation and public art. My artistic interests are varied and draw from a wide range of influences. Figure drawing was emphasized during my university education and juxtaposing unusual materials and forms on the human body fascinated me. Photographing these “installations” became an art form for me, and photography that incorporates fashion continues to be important in my work.

So an interest in fashion as art has been an undercurrent in my work for decades. I periodically reinvent myself artistically, and around 2010 I found fashion as art dominating my creative work. I use materials in experimental and unconventional ways to create a fresh vision of traditional ideas. I approach fashion as I approach my sculpture, with an attitude of exploration, improvisation and a welcoming attitude to serendipity.

 Examples of braids to be incorporated into pieces for upcoming line, Intertwined. 

Examples of braids to be incorporated into pieces for upcoming line, Intertwined. 

Describe your brand and the point of view you wish to convey.

I want my work to reflect both the art world as well as the fashion world. I want the work to convey the idea that fashion and art are inextricably connected and have equal potential as creative expression.

What are your personal goals, or goals for your brand?

My aspiration is to create fashion works that echo my gallery installation works and that can be exhibited both on the runway and in gallery settings, with the greater goal to incorporate these works into performance events and in exhibits in first rate museums and galleries. I desire collaboration with dancers, musicians and performers of all types as well as photographers in situations where my works become part of the creative concept of the performance or image.

 From recent body of work, Cool Like Metal, shown August 2017. Photo by Mike Machian.

From recent body of work, Cool Like Metal, shown August 2017. Photo by Mike Machian.

Describe your favorite project(s) that you have worked on.

I strive to stretch my creativity with each new project and to continually evolve as an artist so my favorite project is usually the most recent one I have worked on. The latest project I showed at OFW was in August 2017 and was perhaps the most stressful as well! This line was called “Cool Like Metal” and was constructed from a variety of wire along with metal and plastic meshes. As with my site-specific installations, my fashion work contains an element of on-site creation, no matter how much I have prepared for the show night. The energy of these creations relies on an element of controlled dishevelment. So, the final and exact arrangement of the pieces on the model is done as they dress for the evening. I have to be prepared so fully that I can relinquish exact control and flow with last minute decisions and changes.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I gain inspiration from all styles of art and fashion, from the microscopic world and from mathematics, especially fractal geometry and topology. This inspiration can be very indirect and I believe that can make for a stronger creative expression.

 From Extreme Jewelry line, shown February 2017. Photo by Kathy Rae Photography.

From Extreme Jewelry line, shown February 2017. Photo by Kathy Rae Photography.

Describe some of the specific inspiration for your new collection.

Braids and knotting traditions from cultures throughout time and geography are a source of inspiration in this collection. This is a rich and varied history. The mathematics of knots is equally fascinating and there are mind-bending ideas that describe knots and the space around knots. I am not a mathematician, but even reading concepts that I cannot grasp instill awe and inspiration as I work.

What kind of materials do you plan to use and why?

I am using about 90 percent fabric, which is different for me. I typically use a small amount of fabric and a larger percentage of non-traditional materials like plastics and metal. I am experimental with all types of fabrics, both synthetic and natural to explore how they create different effects when braided or knotted.

 From Extreme Jewelry line, shown February 2017. Photo by Kathy Rae Photography.

From Extreme Jewelry line, shown February 2017. Photo by Kathy Rae Photography.

What kind of special processes will you use and what effect will it have on your work?

I am interested in creating form with fabrics without sewing. Creating sculptural shapes with braids and knots can be achieved by varying the scale, textures, and type of braids or knots. However, I can rarely resist incorporating some amount of wire and other stiff materials into the works. This serves to stiffen the braids and helps create dramatic shapes.

Is this a new approach for you or is it consistent throughout your work?

I have not specifically created a body of work based on braids and knots, but the literal and figurative idea of intertwining has recurred in my work and speaks to the interconnectedness of all life.

To learn more about Judy and her work, visit her website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram as she continues to prepare for the runway! And be sure to grab tickets to Omaha Fashion Week August 20th-25th!

Comment