By MIKE CHAIKEN EDITIONS EDITOR
Steampunk fashion will be strutted across the runway when the Brass Ring Academy and Cabaret comes to the New England Carousel Museum on Jan. 9.
And the organizer of the event—and one of the featured designers—is Kathryn Paterwic of Windsor, who is the driving force behind Redfield Design of Manchester.
Paterwic learned about the retro-futuristic genre of Steampunk from a friend of hers in college. The friend “saw The Outlander Armory on Deviantart (an alternative art website) and shot me a message saying, ‘Look, look this is what you do. There is a name for it. It is called Steampunk.’”
As it turned out, said Paterwic, she liked Steampunk aesthetics because they dovetailed with what she already had been doing. “I started designing clothes because I did not (and still don’t) like modern fashion. I enjoy linking pieces of history to other pieces and making something new that feels old. I like that clothing was made for a person, what the person wants, and the one of the kind items.”
From a fashion perspective, the unique quality of Steampunk is a draw, explained Paterwic. “I enjoy the individuality, all one of a kind, even sometimes the hands on quality.”
There already had been an inkling of fashion design in Paterwic even before she put a thread through a needle. “I was a junior in College when I found out about Steampunk. but while I did not make clothes I was designing them on paper. I had a professor that thought my clothes were like Post-Modern architecture– Post Modern architects used piece of historical elements to make modern buildings.”
Steampunk, as a concept, is fluid, explained Paterwic. “Everyone has a different idea of what Steampunk Fashion is, which is good but that can also make it hard for people to explain what is it. To me Anachronistic Fashion has a very strong historical feel and should kind of feel historical but in the end you can say what time if came out of. For Steampunk, the clothes should feel Victorian but not necessarily be 100 percent Victorian.”
What makes Redfield Design unique, said Paterwic, are “details, construction, and my men’s wear is really what I am known for in the community. Also most of the ideas I have are distinctly non-European or European Traditional wear.”
Besides showing at the Brass Ring Academy and Cabaret, Paterwic has been put in charge of the evening’s fashion show. “This fashion show, as of right (Dec. 27) has eight designers, some personal and some business (acquaintances), from up and down the East Coast.”
The participating businesses are, said Paterwic, As They Sew in France from Georgia and Pennsylvania, Voltaire Design from Massachusetts, Painter Production from Boston, Midnight Orchid from Pennsylvania, and Stitch Fairy from Connecticut. Pateric also said there are two personal designers Nightwing Whitehead and Sarah Murphy.
“All of these designers all do full outfits but they are all very different views of Steampunk. Some don’t do Steampunk traditionally,” said Paterwic.
“I am showing a line of Dieselpunk clothes,” said Paterwic.
“As They Sew makes pretty much historical garb, whereas Painter is much more up-cycled clothing, giving his looks a post apocalyptic feel. On the other hand, Voltaire is doing more traditional Steampunk,” said Paterwic. “Stitch Fairy does a lot of whimsical Steampunk and Midnight Orchid is known for their bellydancing wear but she is showing something different for this show. Nightwing Whitehead does streamlined Victorian and Sarah got her start in the Renaissance Fair circuit.”
“Variety is what I was looking at,” said Paterwic explaining who she chose to participate. “Some people only see what is popular online and people think I can’t wear that. I love the look but I can’t wear that. but there are many variations.”
“While living in New England is good in some situations, you see a lot of the same people and make great friends but on the other side when you see the same people you see the same designers over and over again so it was super important to get more outside designers in and new blood with new views,” said Paterwic.
The Brass Ring Academy and Cabaret will be held at the New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Ave., Bristol on Saturday, Jan. 9.
The Academy is open to all ages and doors open at 10 a.m. Classes start at 10:30 a.m. The event closes at 6 p.m.
The Cabaret, which is open to ages 18 and up, starts at 7 p.m. and goes to 11:30 p.m. The Steampunk fashion show will be held at this time.
Tickets for the academy are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 11 to 16, and free for children under 10 accompanied by a parent. The cabaret is $20. You can buy a $35 ticket for both the academy and cabaret.
The MiniCon, a local media convention, will be held in Meriden on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, go to YourMinicon.com.
If you buy your ticket online of the Brass Ring Academy and Cabaret, there’s a special gift at the door. Prices go up Jan. 1. For tickets, go to www.brassringct.com/sample-page/tickets/
Costumes are encouraged but not required.