Material Institute

2018

Material Institute is a new space for the design and manufacture of garments, textiles and fashion in New Orleans. The Institute’s programme is designed to encourage learning through hands on experimentation in both traditional craft and high fashion. 

 

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Photography ©Kewon Hunter

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Photography ©Esther Choi

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Photography ©Kewon Hunter

The fashion school is part of an experimental arts school founded and initiated by Mona, including the Embassy Recording Studios and 24 Carrot Garden. The school, which Assemble have been involved with since 2016, was created with the aim to support young people in the area to experiment, improvise and develop individual artistic practice.

In 2018 Assemble proposed to help set up the new department for fashion – now called the Material Institute. Collaborating with local and global fashion and textile designers, the institute opened with a pilot residency October–December 2018.

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Dye sublimation printer. Photography ©Kewon Hunter

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Photography ©Kewon Hunter

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Big Chief Demond Melancon Mardi Gras Indian suit detail. Photography ©Kewon Hunter

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Indigo dyeing 

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The goal of the Institute is to provide free or affordable space, tools and professional guidance to those who would not have access to these opportunities otherwise. 

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Embroidery by student Craddock Reuben. Photography ©Kewon Hunter

Assemble converted the existing light industrial building to include new theatrical walls, reflective surfaces, dramatic openings and large steel structural beams. The large windows were created by removing sections of existing cinder blocks, exposing the block edges behind slick panes of glass. The colour palette features tropical pastel peaches and mints, set against the textured plaster render walls and concrete floors. The workshop furniture was designed by Assemble and welded on site, with chandelier prototypes dip dyed in indigo. Assemble also specified professional equipment, such as sewing machines, a large dye sublimation printer and heat press, weaving loom and natural dye lab tools.

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Photography ©Kelly Colley

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Photography ©Kelly Colley

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Open day poster

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Pilot fashion show poster

Assemble designed and managed the pilot phase of the educational programme in partnership with local stakeholders and experts in the fashion industry. The founding curriculum included pattern cutting, draping, design, textile experimentation, embellishment and textile printing, culminating in a fashion show at Material Institute.

Material Institute is currently open and operating at an interim scale of short, 10-week programs. Assemble are working with staff, students and Mona to establish the school as a permanent institution for New Orleans.

Material Institute is now recruiting a Creative Director, who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the project and building, managing staff, and planning and delivering education and outreach programs. More info here

 

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Opening. Photography ©Kewon Hunter

Pilot Show - Student pieces

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Chez Augustin. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Jalisa Riels. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Kenitra Harding. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Logan Jackson. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Cherise Lockett. Photography ©Esther Choi

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JD Williams. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Daquine Herbert. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Jonathan Faulkner. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Trevor Bryant. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Anita Nuñez Pilar. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Al Beauti. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Mohneeq. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Paige McRae. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Reuben Craddock. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Sarah Hernandez. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Tyrone Shoemaker. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Tahj Pierre. Photography ©Esther Choi

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Kai Bussant. Photography ©Esther Choi