Hadley Clark gives presence to absence; gives new purpose to old discards; gives form to thought. With an education in Painting (BFA, University of Kansas 2001) as well as in Garment Design and Construction (BFA Fashion Design with Honors, The New School | Parsons Paris 2010), Clark’s work exists in the middle distance between art and fashion.
Eschewing some of the commercial strictures of the fashion industry–seasonal collections, exported labor, textile waste–Clark’s methods more closely resemble those of an artist. Working patiently, often alone, Clark designs and constructs her garments according to deadlines set by the work itself. Part painter, part fashion designer, and part sculptor, Clark’s garments have employed materials as varied as silk, cotton, wool, soiled natural fibers, beeswax, salt, hair, and medical gauze.
In 2015, Clark began to rely on textile remnants and deadstock fabric as her primary construction materials. The resulting garments–cut from bolts of donated, repurposed, and meticulously collaged scraps–are documents of dual states; neither new nor used, both art object and wearable garment, dead-come-alive.
This material awareness, and a resulting interest in empowering individuals to fix and tailor garments as opposed to discarding them, led Clark to found her own sewing school in 2017, which she operates out of her studio. In the intervening two years, Clark has logged hundreds of hours teaching dozens of students, eventually expanding the footprint of her classroom to include the textile department at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where she is now faculty.