Ariel Garten calls her grey jacket with concrete between fabric layers the “perfect urban camouflage.” Her “phrenology skirt” has 37 tiny pockets (corresponding to the 37 parts of the psyche) filled, as is the subconscious, with “semi-meaningful crap.”
The creations of fashion designer Garten (BSc 2002 UC) may seem as odd as they are unique, until you consider her training: a psychology and biology degree. The 24-year-old, who has been designing and selling T-shirts in Toronto and New York since the age of 17, says she likes to express “the ideas and queries of science through art.”
The fashion world is keen on what she has to say. Six months after graduating, Garten opened her own boutique, Flavour Hall, on College Street in Toronto, and her Culture Line clothing now sells in 15 stores in Canada and the United States.
She also created a buzz with her debut show at Toronto’s Fashion Week last year. To satirize the world of fashion and show off her 2004 line inspired by the urban environment, Garten’s models were transported down a 20-foot conveyor-belt runway then toppled face first off the end (landing on a high-jump mat, unbeknownst to the shocked audience).
Says Garten: “Right now I’m looking at 3-D geometry of the urban landscape and how we and our bodies are determined by that. Thinking inside the box makes us more efficient, but a lot is lost.”
A U of T lab is working with actors, writers and directors on how they could harness AI and other emerging technologies to generate new ideas and – just maybe – reinvent theatre