Fashion for Bank Robbers
A digital ode to the beauty and experimental nature of wearable art, Instagram account @fashion_for_bank_robbers curates a virtual collection of the best headpieces and masks on the internet in a marriage of fashion and art.
When I contact Carina Shoshtary, founder and curator of Instagram account Fashion for Bank Robbers, for an interview, she warns me that she has two different exhibitions that week and that she may be a little bit busy. My interest piqued, I immediately Google her name, finding her unique contemporary jewellery pieces, exhibited in galleries and stocked in boutiques around the world. It makes sense that the account, a virtual collection of wearable art, would have an artist in her own right posting from behind the social media app.
Fashion for Bank Robbers started as a means for German Iranian artist Carina Shoshtary to publicly research masks and headpieces, where she seeks “to inspire other artists to create wonderfully strange things”, openly sharing the creative pieces that have helped fuel her own art. These wonderfully strange things are brought to life only because of the freedoms afforded in the wearable art field, Shoshtary explains to me “The words ‘jewellery’ and ‘fashion’ immediately evoke certain images. Wearable art indicates something that is way more open because you don’t automatically associate the term to a material, shape or part of the body.”
“Headpieces and masks are quite often a direct extension of the maker’s own body to express an idea. Often artists tell very intimate stories about themselves with these kinds of pieces.”
“The fact that we don’t usually wear headpieces and masks in daily life, with the exception of hats, seems to give artists more freedom to create quirky, extraordinary pieces.”
Makers in this world are undeniably afforded a great deal of artistic freedom to experiment with their works of wearable art. Poring through the fantastical creations of James Merry, personal headpiece maker to Icelandic musician Björk and a favourite influence of Shoshtary’s, I understand this well. His otherworldly creations are extraordinary experimental works of art: I come across elaborate mermaid masks studded with pearls, moth masks bordered with fine lace and silicon eye flowers fixed to the face as if blooming from the skin. His creations allow the musician to fully embody as a performer and an artist the alien vision she sees in her head. Shoshtary notes “The fact that we don’t usually wear headpieces and masks in daily life, with the exception of hats, seems to give artists more freedom to create quirky, extraordinary pieces. Headpieces and masks are quite often a direct extension of the maker’s own body to express an idea. Often artists tell very intimate stories about themselves with these kinds of pieces.”
In her own contemporary jewellery practice, Shoshtary tells me that her work “has evolved into something that speaks to the relationship between the body and art. Most of my pieces are now moulded to the human body or intended to change its anatomy. They only really come to life when they are worn.” What started as “brooches made of graffiti paint from a graffiti wall” has evolved greatly. Shoshtary explains her process, “I include graffiti paint, scraped from a heavily-sprayed wall in the city. I use materials I found while wandering about in the natural environment—pieces of wood, dried plants, corals, shells and stones. Everyday images, thoughts and dreams are woven in as well as my own vision of a parallel nature.”
When I ask about the idea behind the name Fashion for Bank Robbers, Shoshtary puts her answer to me as another question, “If you have to rob a bank, why not do it in style?” Envisioning a burglar holding up a bank in one of the fantasy mermaid pearl headpieces I’ve just seen on Björk’s face, I fully appreciate that the world of wearable art is inarguably one of fantasy and escaping reality to a parallel, more interesting universe.Visit Fashion for Bank Robbers Instagram Visit Carina Shoshtary's website