Kearny Street Workshop’s “Celebrate Your Body” Reimagines APA Fashion

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On Friday, May 31, 2013, Kearny Street Workshop, the country’s oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization, returns to SOMArts to present its annual runway show – with new twists.

ksw runway

KSW Runway: Celebrate Your Body is an alternative fashion and music show that pays homage to the creativity and plurality of the San Francisco Bay Area. For one night only, SOMArts’ Bay Gallery will be transformed into a street fair, replete with battling models, live performances, a DJ, food stalls, vendors, prizes, and surprise guests.

This year’s eclectic lineup of designers and stylists is indicative of a bold change in artistic direction. “Our concept is in direct pushback against the mainstream’s narrow definition of beauty,” says TJ Basa, Program Manager. “The fashion industry tends to hold up certain bodies as ideal, while excluding the majority of others. We want an event that embraces what makes each of us unique. This is reflected, first and foremost, by our models and in the work of each featured designer and stylist.”

Stephanie Madrinan is the force behind 31 Rax, a hand-selected, vintage boutique in Bernal Heights. Madrinan decided to pursue her passion after losing her computer software job. Her collection, Instinct, is “meant to inspire the animal in everyone… to survive and thrive.”

Bambie is a conceptual paper clothing line by Robin David. Raised by immigrant parents, she grew up learning “never throw anything away because you never know when it might come in handy.” She creates with recovered materials, things most people would consider garbage.

Mission District native Zuriel Bautista is a professional wardrobe stylist influenced by popular culture, period pieces, and family roots. A proud father, he aims to be an example that, with hard work and unshakable belief in self, dreams can manifest into reality.

Chartreuse is comprised of Truc Le and Sharlene Lee, former classmates at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Each dress in their collection accentuates the wearer’s body, possesses individualized construction details, and has a distinct personality.

With any art that Nisha Sembi of Kalakari (Sanskrit for “Artistry”) produces, whether it be digital art, fine art, or street art, her main objective is to bridge self expression and social change. For her line of urban apparel, Sembi draws from Indian and hip-hop cultures.

Bonded in their love of fashion as a way to express one’s true self, Kaleo Ferreira and Heather Boyer co-founded the stylist duo Prince x Rose. Their collection incorporates vintage pieces from Kaleo’s online shop and upcycled, handmade jewelry and accessories by Heather.

Music introduces an added, fresh element to the production. Says Basa: “We feel that live performances infuse a party atmosphere into an already exciting mix.”

Dirty Boots (R&B/Soul), Little Sister (Punk/Blues/Rock ‘n’ Roll), Cynthia Lin (Folk/Acoustic/Indie Rock), and Micropixie (Trip Hop/Electronica) are all slated to take the stage, as are the Rice Rockettes, an Asian American drag queen troupe. For the second year running, DJ Slum B of the Earth Tone DJs will be spinning hip hop, house, downtempo, and neo-soul.

The evening’s festivities will be hosted by Terry K. Park of Mr. Hyphen 2011 fame and Robynn Takayama of the KPFA radio program APEX Express. Attendees will have the opportunity to have their snapshots taken in the photo booth, browse body-related wares by local artisans, sample gourmet treats by pop-up food vendors, indulge in a chair massage, adorn their skin with beads and henna, win one of several raffle prizes, and even get tested for HIV.

“The region has always been at the forefront of progressive thought and cutting-edge movements. We definitely feel we are a part of that. Celebrate Your Body goes hand in hand with who we are and what we are trying to accomplish,” remarks Basa.

Now in its fortieth year, the mission of Kearny Street Workshop is to produce, present, and promote art that empowers Asian Pacific American communities. We envision a more just society that fully incorporates our historical roots, cultural values, and contemporary issues.

KSW Runway: Celebrete Your Body takes place on Friday, May 31, 2013, from 7:00 – 11:00 PM at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. It is co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, as part of the 16th Annual United States of Asian America Festival.

The event receives support from SOMArts through participation in the Affordable Space Program, which provides below-market rental space, production, and publicity assistance to nonprofit organizations. Discounted, pre-sale tickets are now available at http://celebrateyourbody.eventbrite.com.

For more information, contact TJ Basa, Program Manager, at 415-503-0520 or tj@kearnystreet.org.

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